Skip to main content

Full text of "The trooper police of Australia : a record of mounted police work in the Commonwealth from the earliest days of settlement to the present time"

See other formats

rr\ T y r~^ 

I |~ I l-H 

1 JllJD 





Presented to the 


by the 




Uniform with this Volume. 


A Record of the Royal North- 

West Mounted Police of 

Canada, 1873-1910. 

Medium 8vo, gilt top, IDS. 6d. net. 

Illustrated with Maps and Photographs. 

Fourth Edition. 

Tkt Daily Chronicle says: "Mr. Haydon's 
volume combines the importance of a Blue-book 
with the interest of a Fenimore Cooper novel." 


.31 * 



















IN offering this book to the consideration of the public, 
I venture to claim that its matter is its own justifica- 
tion. While there are many volumes devoted to various 
periods of Australian history, and in part touching upon 
the trooper police, there has been no attempt to give a 
comprehensive account of police administrative work 
during the growth of the Commonwealth. I have long felt 
that such a record was worthy of being written, as it deals 
with a very notable side of Colonial development, and to 
achieve this result has been my purpose in the present 
book. At the same time, I am conscious that the manner 
in which it is presented may require some deprecation from 
the author. The record is not one of a corporate regiment, 
such as the Royal North-West Mounted Police of Canada 
it is concerned with the police services of six separate States, 
and consequently it has been impossible to avoid a certain 
amount of overlapping. Furthermore, some difficulty has 
been experienced in obtaining material relating to the early 
years of one or two forces. A great deal of valuable his- 
torical matter was destroyed in the past, and this can never 
be replaced. It is only from contemporary sources that 
one is able at all to fill in the picture. 

With regard to the bushranging era, which has a litera- 
ture of its own, I have made it my aim to dispel some of 
the popular misconceptions attached thereto. Certain 






books on the subject have an unfortunate tendency to invest 
Australia's highwaymen with a false romantic glamour. 
In real fact the mounted police are the heroes of the story. 
They are justly entitled to the major share of whatever 
romance and picturesqueness the period may possess. But 
the reputation of the trooper police does not rest solely on 
the criminal side of their duties, important though it be. 
It is as pioneers, as the advance guard of civilization in the 
wilderness, that they deserve our admiration. And this, 
be it remembered, is a work that they are still performing, 
and will continue to perform so long as the expansion of 
Australia's settled area proceeds, 

It remains now to acknowledge my indebtedness to 
various Government officials who have assisted me in the pre- 
paration of this volume. During my stay in Australia I 
was afforded every facility for acquiring the information 
desired ; I was allowed full opportunity to study the 
mounted policeman in the barrack-room, in the city, and in 
the solitudes of the bush. I have particularly to thank 
ex-Inspector-General T. Garvin, I.S.O., Inspector-General 
E. C. Day, Commissioner T. O'Callaghan, Commissioner 
W. G. Cahill, Commissioner Fred A. Hare, Commissioner 
W. H. Raymond, ex-Superintendent Martin Brennan, 
Superintendent Milne, Superintendent W. C. Brophy, 
Inspector J. S. Clarke, Inspector Ryan, Sub-Inspector 
Allcock, Sub-Inspector Orr and Detective-Sergeant Walsh. 

Among others whose help has been generously extended 
to me, in regard to both material and photographs, I must 
mention Mr. J. B. Castiean, of Melbourne, Mr. E. Price 
Conigrave, F.R.G.S., and Mr. S. W. Copley, of Perth, Mr. 
E. B. Kennedy and Mr. H. E. Garraway. 

LONDON, July, 1911. 






Captain Cook's voyage Sir Joseph Banks The convict ques- 
tion Mr. Matra's proposal The American loyalists 
Lord Sydney's " Plan " " The First Fleet "Captain 
Phillip at Botany Bay Removal to Sydney Troubles 
and dissensions A " night watch " of convicts Major 
Grose governor The New South Wales Corps Captain 
King The " Armed Association " Captain Bligh's 
stormy rule Convicts assigned as servants Governor 
Macquarie The " Emancipists " Opposition to the new 
scheme Exploration in the colony. .... 1 




Commissioner Bigge A new order Governor Brisbane A 
mounted police force Governor Darling Bushranging 
Distribution of troops A ghost story Black tracking 
Van Diemen's Land Early troubles with convicts Ex- 
ploration in New South Wales Oxley Allan Cunning- 
ham Captain Sturt discovers the Darling Sir Thomas 
Mitchell Hamilton Hume at Geelong A settlement at 
Port Phillip John Batman Treaty with the natives 
Melbourne founded Swan River settlement in West 
Australia Perth and Fremantle Wakefield's scheme 
South Australia colonised ...... 17 



Formation and equipment Donohue the bushranger End of a 
notorious gang Police Magistrates appointecl in Sydney 
ix *- 


Police and gaol charges The Act of 1838 Increase of 
the force A smart capture The penalty of carelessness 
Transportation to New South Wales abolished Patrols on 
the main roads Uniforms and arms Captain Zouch 
" Scotchey " Captain Battye and the Western Patrol 
" Sticking up " a mail coach Capture of Day and Wil- 
son Locating the "plant " Trouble on the goldfields 
The affair at Lambing Flat Police charge the mob 
The lesson of the riot. 33 




Their origin The " bush " Van Diemen's Land types 
Jeffries and Dunne Michael Howe Repeated escapes A 
price on his head Capture and death Matthew Brady 
The fate of a traitor Attack on Sorell Gaol Surrender to 
John Batman Misplaced sympathy " Mosquito," bush- 
ranger Martin Cash Daring escape from Port Arthur 
Threat to Sir John Franklin A successful trap In New 
South Wales Outbreak at Bathurst Mounted Police and 
soldiers in the field The Bushrangers Act Unwarranted 
arrests " Farm-constables " Jackey Jackey A Norfolk 
Island rising . ...... 50 




A new era First discoveries Count Strzlecki's reports Clarke 
and Murchison The Daisy Hill nugget Edward Ham- 
mond Hargraves At the Californian diggings Prospect- 
ing in the Blue Mountains Summerhill Creek The ' ' rush' ' 
begins Regulations and precautions The Mounted 
Police The exodus from Port Phillip A Gold Discovery 
Committee Victorian discoveries James Esmond 
Ballarat goldfields Mount Alexander Bendigo Unde- 
sirable elements The Influx of Criminals Prevention Act 
Duties of the police Mr. William Mitchell appointed 
Commissioner Dodging the " Joeys " A typical scene 
Ex-Superintendent Brennan The bushrangers out- 
witted Another story of Gardiner .... 72 





The Nelson gold-ship robbery Mounted Police in pursuit 
Attacks on the Government Capture of the pirates 
Transportation to Van Diemen's Land abolished Turbu- 
lence on the goldfields Mail-coach robberies The licence 
fee agitation Proposed increase of tax More misunder- 
standings A police blunder Riot at Forest Creek 
Bendigo the centre of disaffection Resignation of Mr. 
Latrobe Sir Charles Hotham, Governor " Digger-hunt- 
ing " and other grievances The Eureka Hotel murder 
Ballarat in ferment Obduracy of the authorities The call 
to arms Peter Lalor The Eureka Stockade Concessions 
by the Government Constitutional changes . .89 



Edward Eyre, Police Magistrate Inspector Robert 
O'Hara Burke The Victorian Exploration Expedition 
W. J. Wills The start from Melbourne Division 
of the party At Cooper's Creek The dash for the 
Gulf Wright at Menindie Burke and Wills reach the 
coast The return journey Death of Gray The de- 
serted depot Wright and Brahe A series of blunders 
Burke, Wills and King in the bush Among the blacks 
Nardoo Burke and Wills succumb Howitt finds King 
Other expeditions Frederick Walker, Inspector of 
Police From Rockhampton to the Gulf Colonel Eger- 
ton-Warburton In Central Australia Sub-Inspector 
Robert Johnstone . . . . . . .108 



A new era of lawlessness Native-born bushrangers Causes 
of the outbreak False hero-worship Captain Thunder- 
bolt's generosity Francis Gardiner Taking to " the 
road " Capture by Sergeant Middleton Trooper Hosie 
shot Gardiner's rescue John Piesley, bushranger 
"I've come for * Troubadour ' ' A gold escort en route 




Mr. Horsington and Mr. Hewitt " bailed up " The great 
gold escort robbery At the Eugowra Rocks Inspector 
Sir Frederick Pottinger First successes An encounter 
with Gardiner More arrests Fordyce, Bow and Manns 
A death sentence What became of the treasure ? .127 



"Gardiner's Flying Squadron " Inspector Patrick Brennan 
Catching a tartar Bushranging tactics " Bush tele- 
graphs " Gardiner disappears Detective McGlone 
Capture of Gardiner Trial and sentence Ben Hall 
Sticking up of Canowindra Relaxations Mock bush- 
rangers and a sequel Police caught napping Trooper 
Sutton's pluck Trooper Burns Four to one A bush- 
ranger shot Medals awarded Raid on Bathurst Police 
blunders The system at fault Government action 
Police reforms instituted . . . . . .146 



Death of Lowry The Dunn's Plains affair Burke shot Sur- 
render of Vane O'Meally at Goimbla station Sergeant 
Parry's death The Felons' Apprehension Act Shooting 
of Ben Hall Gilbert and Dunn Dan Morgan on the 
Southern Road Sergeant McGinnerty Another police 
tragedy Morgan at Peechalba station A Chinese bush- 
ranger The brothers Clarke Murder of the special con- 
stables Hunted down at last Sir Watkin Wynne, black 
tracker Captain Thunderbolt Trooper Walker A hand 
to hand fight Captain Melville in Victoria The " Moon- 
light " gang The Wantabadgery " sticking up " . . 163 



The Kelly Gang Constable Fitzpatrick attacked The tragedy 
at Stringy Bark Creek Troopers Kennedy, Scanlan and 
Lonergan shot Escape of Mclntyre The police hunt 
begins Hart and Byrne Proclamation of outlawry At 
Euroa Robbery of the bank The raid on Jerilderie 
" 8,000 Reward "Police officers in the field A chance 
xii . 


missed Sub-Inspector O'Connor The black trackers 
Hoaxing the police Aaron Sherritt Superintendent Hare 
A trooper's pluck Murder of Sherritt The Kellys at 
Glenrowan Superintendent Sadleir Death of Byrne 
Ned Kelly captured Dan Kelly and Hart A Royal 
Commission. ... 184 



The Act of 1862 Initial difficulties Changes in uniform and 
equipment Captain M'Lerie, Inspect or- General Bush- 
ranging suppressed Mr. Edmund Fosbery The 
"Angel" and Thurston case Superintendent Day An ex- 
citing encounter The Darling River mystery Ex-Supt. 
Brennan " Waterloo Tom " Aboriginal murderers A 
long chase Mr. Thomas Garvin Mr. Day, Inspector- 
General Mounted police of to-day Necessary qualifi- 
cations An " out-back " story Extraneous duties 
Equipment and pay ....... 205 



The Port Phillip settlement Superintendent Latrobe Sepa- 
ration demanded The colony of Victoria Policing 
arrangements High Constables Captain Lonsdale 
Mounted police Captain Mair A native corps Mr. 
W. H. F. Mitchell, Chief Commissioner Captain Charles 
Macmahon Highway robberies The tables turned A 
Melville story Uniforms Captain F. C. Standish, Chief 
Commissioner Power, the bushranger An exciting cap- 
ture Superintendents Hare and Nicholson Quelling a 
mutiny Mr. H. M. Chomley appointed Mr. T. O'Callag- 
han, Chief Commissioner Police figures At the depot 
Pay. . 227 



First settlement, 1836 Adelaide founded Governor Hind- 
marsh Colonel Gawler Early troubles Sir George 
Grey Police Act of 1839 Inspector Inman Major 
O'Halloran, first Commissioner The police in 1840 


Uniform Undesirable immigrants Jack Foley "The 
black-faced robbers " Cattle-duffers A trooper's hallu- 
cination After aboriginal murderers Commissioner 
B. T. Finniss Mr. G. F. Dashwood Mr. Alexander 
Tolmer Inspector Alford Major Egerton-Warburton 
Later Commissioners Consolidating Police Act 
Expansion of the colony Growth of the force Crime 
Northern Territory Tom Egan's fate Police of to- 
day Commissioner W. H. Raymond Distribution 
Scrub and desert Varied duties Camels Training and 
equipment ......... 247 



Early history Exploration McDouall Stuart Annexation 
Port Darwin founded Mounted police Criminal elements 
Trooper Donegan Bogus Customs officers Borro- 
loola Shanty-keepers Burnt out The Territory to-day 
Native question A back-blocks tragedy Troopers 
Holland and Dempsey Sub-Inspector Waters Inspector 
Foelsche The northern black A startling experience 
Out on patrol The brighter side The new province . 267 



Origin Physical characteristics Mental qualities Spears 
Sword v. shield Native huts Art Corrobborees 
Superstitions " You bin settled this time " Singing a 
man dead A misunderstanding Instances of fidelity 
A dark page of history Eloquent figures " All gone ! 
dead ! " A point of view Tasmanian aborigines " The 
Black Line " Myall Creek massacre A salutary lesson 
Queensland barbarities The aboriginal to-day Increase 

of half-castes State problems. ..... 285 



Days of settlement Convicts introduced A military guard 
Police constables appointed Superintendent Conroy 
The " Enrolled Force "The Police Act of 1861 Superin- 
tendent Hogan Captain Smith, Commissioner Lieut.- 
Col. Phillips Captain Fred A. Hare Distribution of the 



force The north-west Native troubles " Soaks " and 
" Gnamma holes " A tragedy of thirst Trooper 
Richardson's murder " Pigeon " at large In the Barrier 
Range Superintendent Lawrence The Jasper murder 
"Major" Police rewards Arms and uniform Con- 
ditions of appointment Pay The trooper to-day . 309 



The Southern Cross discovery " Bayley's Reward " The 
rush to Coolgardie On the road Inspector McKenna 
Scarcity of water" To Three Camel Drinks, 12 "A 
record price Kalgoorlie Other goldfields A bogus 
" rush" The alluvial riots An Afghan murder " Bailed 
up " in daylight Coolgardie's gold escort robbed On 
the Kimberley goldfields A brutal murder Sub-Inspec- 
tor Troy The pearling industry Broome " Cock- 
eyed bobs " Illicit pearl-buying The Ethel case A 
Malay pirate At Yampi Sound Mounted Constable 
Fletcher A notable achievement. . . . .330 



Notorious examples Methods of work Brand " faking " 
The Kellys " Plucking a brand " Police patrols Old 

Mrs. B A lost Hereford Where was the hide ? 

Jack Burrell " Tom-Tit " Working a stampede A 
trick cow An opal robbery Bowling out a thief 
Mounted Constable Freeman An arduous trip Benjamin 
Bridges, horse-thief Wonderful tracking . . . 350 



The Moreton Bay settlement Convict town Expansion 
Convictism again The anti-transportation movement 
Dr. Lang Free immigration Black troubles Native 
Mounted Police formed Frederick Walker Disband- 
ment and re-organisation Brutal methods Uniform and 
distribution Early days Mr. E. B. Kennedy Amour 
propre Mr. G. Murray Police force established Gold 
discoveries Mount Morgan mine A gold escort tragedy 
Cattle-duffing and a murder Mr. D, T 8 Seymour, Com- 





missioner Police duties Mr. W. E. Parry-Okeden, 
I.S.O., Commissioner Major W. G. Cahill, Commissioner 
Rank and pay Present distribution. . . .365 



In olden days The bushranging era Notable characters Re- 
cruiting An instructive art Early schooling Women 
trackers " Mayella " Lost in the bush Reading a track 
A Murchison story " That one Kendy track " An 
object lesson in scouting A " jackeroo " hunt On the 
trail Found at last " Billy " A South African test 
Pay Past and present 386 



Entering the force Preliminary tests At the police depot 
A day's routine The riding school Drill " First Aid " 
Class work End of probation Practical Education 
Manifold duties Compensations A long journey 
" Hatters " The lighter side Wanted a divorce A 
Queensland episode Summing up . . .401 



AUGUST, 1786. 413 


1835 416 

C. THE BUSHRANGERS ACT OF 1830 . . . .418 


FROM 1861 TO 1879 420 






j; POLICE FORCE ...... Frontispiece 

A COUNTRY ROAD IN THE N.s.w. BUSH . .Facing page 16 

THE OLD AND THE NEW .... ,,24 

A CAMP IN THE BUSH ..... ,,40 



IN A BLACKFELLOWS' CAMP . . . . ,, 104 

ROBERT O'HARA BURKE ..... Page 109 










HEADQUARTERS . . . . . 192 










BARRACKS, MELBOURNE . . . .Facing page 240 



TROOPERS ON CAMELS . . . . ,, 256 


MOUNTED POLICE . . . . . ,, 264 







AT A " WATER SOAK "..... 312 




LAND POLICE FORCE . . . . 352 
GYMPIE, QUEENSLAND . . . . . ,, 360 

WHITE OFFICER . . . . . ,, 368 








NEW SOUTH WALES ...... Page 9 

OLD MELBOURNE, 1838 . . . . . . 29 




MAP OF AUSTRALIA Facing page 426 






Captain Cook's voyage Sir Joseph Banks The convict question Mr. 
Matra's proposal The American loyalists Lord Sydney's " Plan " 
" The First Fleet " Captain Phillip at Botany Bay Removal 
to Sydney Troubles and dissensions A " night watch " of convicts 
Major Grose governor The New South Wales Corps Captain 
King The " Armed Association " Captain Bligh's stormy rule 
Convicts assigned as servants Governor Macquarie The " Emanci- 
pists " Opposition to the new scheme Exploration in the colony. 

IT is beyond the scope of this volume to dwell upon the 
early discoverers of Australia. The story of the ad- 
venturous voyages of the Spaniard Torres, the Dutch cap- 
tains Dirk Hartog, Pieter Nuyts, Francis Pelsart and Abel 
Tasman, together with that of the famous English buc- 
caneer, William Dampier, has been often told, and should be 
familiar to every student of colonial history. In our con- 
sideration of the Mounted Police of the several states, 
however, it will be necessary to make a brief survey of the 
developments immediately following upon the re-discovery 
of the island-continent by Captain Cook in 1770, for from 
that epoch-making event we may trace the movement which 
led to the ultimate settlement of the country and the genesis 
of an established police force. 

- i B 


In that year 1770 the Endeavour, with Cook and two 
distinguished scientists, Mr. (afterwards Sir) Joseph Banks 
and Dr. Solander, sailed from Tahiti, where the Transit of 
Venus had been successfully observed, and, having coasted 
the islands of New Zealand, arrived at the point on the Aus- 
tralian mainland known as Cape Howe. Thence Cook 
bore away to the north-east, until the ship dropped anchor in 
an inlet which, for obvious reasons, he was disposed to call 
Stingray Bay. This name was subsequently exchanged 
for the better known one of Botany Bay, owing to the wealth 
of plants and flowers that Banks and Solander found on its 

Cook's land explorations were very meagre. Although he 
proceeded westward and northward for a distance of two 
thousand miles so far as Cape York, indeed he touched 
only the fringe of a country which by no means impressed him 
favourably. On his return to England he had little to say for 
his new-found land of New South Wales, this being the name 
bestowed upon it. Not so, however, the younger and more 
enthusiastic Joseph Banks. From the first the latter 
realised that here was a country worthy of English occu- 
pation. The little he had seen of it was enough to con- 
vince him of its possibilities of development, and to the end 
of his life he never ceased to take a keen interest in its 
progress. A few years after the Endeavour's memorable 
voyage we find Banks giving evidence before a special Parlia- 
mentary committee on the suitability of New South Wales 
as a prospective home for surplus criminals. 

The question of the disposal of convicts had by this 
time assumed a most serious aspect. The American Revo- 
lution of 1775, by which the New England colonies were lost 
to us irrevocably, had had the effect of closing the over-seas 



plantations as a destination for convicted prisoners. Trans- 
portation for certain offences had been in vogue for a long 
period since the days of the first Charles, to be precise 
and the system had served to populate our embryo colonies 
in the New World at the same time that it provided a source 
of relief to the already crowded gaols of the mother-country. 

Thus, then, was the attention of the public re-directed 
to the great continent which was still popularly known as 
New Holland, and which, for all that any one cared, might 
be left to the Dutch to be settled and fostered. But nothing 
was to be done immediately. King George the Third's 
Government, with Lord North at its head, had its hands full 
with the revolting American colonists, and its attitude towards 
the unknown southern land was, not unnaturally, apathetic. 
New Holland, or New South Wales, or Terra Australis In- 
cognita, or whatever you liked to call it, was very far away, 
very bleak and inhospitable (except for the reports of one 
or two enthusiasts), and it was peopled by a race of savages 
no less formidable than those who had murdered Captain 
Cook on his last voyage to the South Seas. It was really 
unattractive to the popular mind. 

Some years later, however, the question of Australian 
settlement cropped up again with a persistency that would 
not be denied. In addition to the necessity for finding an 
asylum for the thousands of convicts whose increasing num- 
bers were an embarrassment to the prison authorities, there 
had arisen the need for affording protection to the many 
American loyalists who were now refugees from their former 
home. So, in 1783, one James Maria Matra came to the fore 
suddenly with a proposal that offered a solution to both 
these urgent problems. 

Matra had been a member of the expedition that sailed in 


the Endeavour, having held the position of midshipman. 
He had no doubt imbibed a good deal of the enthusiasm dis- 
played by Banks. His suggestion, respectfully submitted to 
his Majesty's Government, was that in New South Wales 
would be found an admirable refuge for the loyalists in ques- 
tion, a people whom, he said, " Great Britain is bound by 
every tie of honour and gratitude to protect and support 
where they may repair their broken fortunes and again 
enjoy their former domestic felicity." To provide them 
with efficient labour Kanakas were to be introduced from 
the neighbouring islands, with a sprinkling of Chinese. The 
many natural advantages that the new land held out, 
advantages confirmed by his own observation, were duly put 
forward, while it was argued that with good management 
the settlers " in twenty or thirty years might cause a re- 
volution in the whole system of European commerce, and 
secure to England a monopoly of some part of it and a large 
share of the whole." Matra was not without the visions of 
an empire-builder. 

The upshot of this ingenious proposition was that steps 
were taken in due course to plant a little colony on the spot 
where Cook and his companions had first landed. But it 
was not destined to be on the lines originally laid down. 
The American loyalists found that the Government's solici- 
tude for their welfare had blown cold, and as time went by 
and delay after delay occurred, the majority of them with- 
drew any support they had lent to this novel emigration 
scheme and betook themselves to Eastern Canada. 

What proved to be the culminating point of their decision 
was the stipulation that transportation of convicts to New 
South Wales should go hand in hand with its colonisation. 
Lord Sydney was now at the head of the Home Office, and 



the idea of forming a penal settlement in this quarter of the 
world strongly commended itself to him. A recent at- 
tempt to utilise Africa for the purpose had proved abortive. 
It was, furthermore, a unique opportunity for putting into 
practice certain theories for the treatment of felons that were 
being exploited. The new Australian land, in fact, was to be 
converted into a reformatory as well as a prison. 

Yet a further consideration, it may be noted, was a de- 
sire to forestall any attempt on the part of France to gain a 
footing in this region of the Pacific. It was known that such 
a step was in contemplation, and, indeed, French ships 
under Du Fresne, La Perouse and D'Entrecasteaux, fol- 
lowed hard upon the heels of Cook and Phillip when they 
ventured into the southern seas. 

Having made up his mind to go forward with the great 
project, Lord Sydney drew up the " Heads of a plan for the 
establishment of a colony in New South Wales " 1 and in- 
structed the Admiralty to make all necessary arrangements 
with as little delay as possible. For the leader of his ex- 
pedition he had selected Captain Arthur Phillip, a naval 
commander of experience and distinction, and one who pos- 
sessed remarkable qualities of tact and judgment. As events 
proved, it was a wise choice. Phillip threw himself into 
the work of preparation with all his energy. Thanks to 
his assistance the authorities were kept up to the mark, and 
by May 1787 all was in readiness for a start to be made. 

" The First Fleet," as it is known in Australian history, 
comprised eleven vessels : Six transports, three store ships, 2 
the 20-gun frigate H.M.S. Sirius and the armed tender 

1 See Appendix A. 

2 The Alexander, Charlotte, Scarborough, Friendship, Prince of Wales, 
Lady Penrhyn, transports, from 270 to 450 tons ; the Fishburn, Golden 
Grove, Borrodale, store ships. 



-: * 



Supply. In all these carried over 1,000 persons, of whom 750 
were convicts. After a safe voyage round the Cape the 
fleet reached Botany Bay on January 18th, but Phillip 
saw at once that the place was unfitted for his purpose. 
He accordingly set out along the coast to the northward, 
and was rewarded by the discovery of the magnificent har- 
bour of Port Jackson. Cook had seen its entrance between 
the two heads, but had passed by ignorant of its wonderful 
capacity. Here, at a spot which was named Sydney Cove in 
honour of Lord Sydney, Phillip decided to make his landing. 
In a little while the remainder of the vessels were brought 
round, and the work of settlement was forthwith entered 

No colonial administrator ever had a more unenviable 
task to perform than that which fell to the lot of Captain 
Phillip, Governor and Captain-General of New South Wales. 
In a strange country whose resources were practically un- 
known he had to house and maintain a community of over a 
thousand people, the bulk of whom were convicted felons, by 
disposition unamenable to discipline and averse to under- 
taking any manual labour. To add to his difficulties he soon 
found himself deprived of the support of the military, upon 
whom he naturally relied to assist him in the work of policing 
the convict population. Nearly two hundred marines, under 
Major Ross, had accompanied the expedition. 

" I requested," Phillip wrote in a letter to Lord Sydney, 
" that officers would, when they saw the convicts diligent, say 
a few words of encouragement to them, and that when they 
saw them idle, or met them straggling in the woods, they 
would threaten them with punishment. This only I desired 
when officers could do it without going out of their way ; it 
was all I asked, and was pointedly refused. They declared 



against what they called an interference with convicts, and I 
found myself obliged to give up the little plan I had formed 
in the passage for the government of these people, and which, 
had it even been proposed to the officers, required no more 
from them than the hearing of an appeal the overseer might 
find it necessary to make, and a report from the officer to 
me . . . but which has never been asked of the officers 
since they declined any kind of interference." 

The early years of the little colony were marked by end- 
less trouble and dissension. Cattle and sheep, that had been 
brought out, died or strayed away in the bush and were lost ; 
provisions ran short, mainly owing to the inability on the part 
of the settlers to take up farming, until many were of the 
opinion of Ma j or Ross that it would be cheaper " to feed the 
convicts on turtle and venison at the London Tavern," than 
be at the expense of sending them there. As for the soldiery, 
they openly flouted the Governor and comported themselves 
arrogantly towards both bond and free. There was, more- 
over, constant apprehension of hostilities with the natives, 
whom Phillip was desirous to placate but who suffered 
numberless wrongs at the hands of the convicts and the 
marines. It is not to be wondered at that in the circum- 
stances many attempts to escape were made by the convicts, 
and that robberies from the stores, together with acts of 
violence, were of frequent occurrence. 

In the absence of assistance from the military, and as 
some precaution against theft of both public and private 
property, the Governor now instituted a night watch of 
twelve persons, who patrolled the settlement from sunset to 
dawn. The document containing the regulations for this 
embryo police force was dated August 7th, 1789, and 
gave the names of the watch as follows : Herbert Keeling, 



Charles Peat, John Harris, John Coen Walsh, John Neal, 
John Massey Cox, William Bradbury, James Clark, Josh 
Marshall, Thomas Oldfield, George Robinson, and John 
Archer. Three of these were afterwards replaced by W. 
Hubbard, John Anderson, and Stephen Le Grove. All the 
above, be it noted, were convicts, selected for this special 
duty because of their good behaviour, and there is plenty of 
evidence that they performed their task faithfully. On 
one occasion they captured a party of six marines who, by 
means of duplicate keys, had broken into a store-house to 
steal flour. It was a time when every one in the settlement) 
from the Governor downwards, was living on half rations 
of salt meat, bread and peas, and this fact made the enor- 
mity of the crime all the greater. The six marines, despite 
their commander's remonstrances, were duly hanged. 

During the winter of 1790 a second fleet of transports 
arrived with prisoners from home, these being distributed 
over the area of the gaol land. The settlement by this time 
had spread as far as the Hawkesbury River on the north 
and west, the river valley proving to be suitable for farming 
operations. Sydney Cove itself was far too rocky and infertile 
for cultivation, and the first experimental farm had been 
started at Parramatta, at the head of the harbour. Away 
from the mainland there was also a settlement on Norfolk 
Island, where the community was successful in raising enough 
grain to maintain itself. 

With the newly-arrived ships from England came the 
first detachment of the New South Wales Corps, a regiment 
which was destined to play a great part in the history of the 
colony. The Corps was intended to relieve the marines 
originally sent out, and was under the command of Major 
Francis Grose, who was responsible for its inception. At the 



end of 1792, after having seen the settlement pass through 
many vicissitudes, Governor Phillip relinquished the reins 
of office and returned home. Major Grose, by virtue of his 
commission as Lieutenant-Go vernor, remained at the head 
of affairs. 

The immediate outcome of this change was the inaugura- 
tion of an era of crime and lawlessness. The New South 
Wales Corps was composed mainly of men who had joined 
in the expectation of finding the new country more or less of 
an Eldorado. They considered only their own personal gain, 
and to advantage themselves did not scruple to encourage 
the evil passions of those committed to their charge. At 
this period the practice was begun of assigning convicts as 
servants or farm labourers to officers of the Corps. Another 
privilege of the military was the purchase of spirits at cost 
price. In this concession the officers saw a quick road to 
wealth. Most of them in time became farmers or engaged in 
other industries that made them large employers of labour, 
and in lieu of money they found rum highly acceptable to 
the convicts. In a little while farmers in other districts 
began to distil their grain instead of selling it for food-stuff, 
for the high prices fetched by spirits made this method more 
lucrative. The result was what might have been expected. 
Robbery and murder became more and more rampant as 
police supervision became more lax, and the fortunes of the 
colony sank to a low ebb. 

Major Grose's rule lasted two years. For some months 
the governorship then devolved upon Captain William 
Paterson, the senior military officer, after whom came Captain 
John Hunter, the one-time commander of the Sirius, who 
vainly endeavoured to stem the flood of abuses. The next 
governor was Captain ^Philip King, Phillip's able lieutenant 



in Norfolk Island during the earliest years of the colony. 
King set about reform with a strong hand, and was instru- 
mental to a large degree in checking the free sale of spirits. 
Thousands of gallons of rum and wine were sent away, amid 
general indignation. Other monopolies and forms of extor- 
tion were also restricted, so that for a season the settlers 
enjoyed somewhat improved conditions. 

It was at this juncture that we first hear of a police force, 
apart from the soldiery, being enrolled. The reason for 
this was the unsettled state of the convicts, among whom 
was now included a large number of " politicals " transported 
for participation in the Irish Rebellion of 1798. These 
factious newcomers were ripe for insurrection, and so 
ominous did the situation become that the free settlers 
formed themselves into an " Armed Association " to keep a 
watchful eye on the malcontents and be in readiness to 
counter any outbreak. A further cause for anxiety was the 
rumour that the French, with whom war had broken out, 
contemplated making a descent upon New South Wales. 

That the colonists' fears of impending trouble were not 
groundless was evidenced early in 1804, when an organised 
conspiracy was revealed. Prompt measures were taken : 
the military pursued the rebels to the Hawkesbury, and a 
brisk fight ensued. In the end the convicts were dispersed, 
several being killed, while the leaders were made prisoners. 
Eight of the principal offenders were subsequently executed. 

King's occupation of office ceased in 1806, when he was 
succeeded by Captain Bligh, famous for all time through his 
connection with the mutiny of the Bounty. Unhappily for 
himself, as for the colony, Bligh was a man of strong pre- 
judices and violent temper. He had been known as a mar- 
tinet while in the Navy, and he now proceeded to confirm 

_ _ T y ri L 


that reputation by his high-handed dealings with the New 
South Wales Corps. His two years of rule are one continu- 
ous record of conflict with the military and with certain of 
the better-class settlers. Among the latter was John Mac- 
arthur, an ex-officer of the Corps and an enterprising colonist 
who was interesting himself in the wool industry among 
other things. Macarthur had been prominent in all the 
recent dissensions between the late governor and the Corps, 
having sided with his former comrades : against him, 
therefore, Bligh waged bitter war. The climax came when 
the Governor arrested his enemy on a trumped-up charge 
and proposed to put him on trial. Macarthur 's military 
friends rallied round him, a popular cry was raised demand- 
ing Bligh's deposition, and shortly after the Governor was 
taken prisoner by force of arms. 

There was now an interregnum of another two years, 
during which period officers of the New South Wales Corps 
administered affairs. At the end of that time, in 1810, the 
regiment, whose mutiny against Bligh had met with dis- 
favour at home, was recalled and a new Governor appeared 
in the person of Major-General Lachlan Macquarie. With 
him came a fresh military prison guard, the 102nd Regiment. 

The practice of assigning convicts as farm servants, first 
to officers of the New South Wales Corps and later to settlers, 
did not tend in the main to their better conduct. The 
prisoners generally had little restraint imposed upon them 
by masters who in several ways made money out of them. 
Too many opportunities were provided for their indulgence 
in vice and debauchery, for if their owners were free men 
their overseers were usually of the convict class, and nothing 
was wanting to inflame them into open rebellion whenever 
occasion offered. As we have seen, organised insurrection 



did rear its head in King's time, this being the most serious 
of the several risings among the " croppies," as the con- 
victs were termed. The vigilance of the guards was seldom 
allowed to be relaxed. A second outbreak, four years 
later, was only frustrated in time to prevent the whole 
colony being plunged into anarchy by a general massacre 
of the principal residents. 

With Governor Macquarie's advent convict life entered 
upon a new phase. In the years that had elapsed since the 
arrival of the First Fleet a large number of the prisoners had 
worked out their sentences, while others had received pardons. 
It was with these, the " emancipists," that the Governor's 
chief consideration lay. The time had come when the 
colony was to be tested as a reformatory. " When once a 
man is free his former state should no longer be remembered 
or allowed to act against him : let him then feel himself 
eligible for any situation which he had by a long term of 
upright conduct proved himself worthy of filling " : so the 
Governor expressed himself, and with this guiding principle 
before him he set about the task of reclamation. 

There were two great obstacles in the way, however, 
against which Macquarie battled long and strenuously. In 
the first place so many of the emancipists were totally un- 
fitted for civil life. The unbridled licence of former regimes 
had not been conducive to reform, and the material on which 
he endeavoured to work was of the poorest kind. Secondly, 
although the New South Wales Corps had been withdrawn, 
many of the officers still remained in the colony, where they 
were engaged in varied pursuits. They mostly occupied 
high and influential positions. When the Governor's 
amiable intentions towards the emancipists were made 
known a storm of protest arose from those ex-officers and 



the leading settlers who shared their views. In their 
opinion the experiment was too dangerous a one. Not only 
did they object to associating with men whose careers had 
been tainted with crime, they feared the consequences of a 
movement which, however lofty it might be in its ideals, 
would rob transportation of half its terrors and render it 
less of a deterrent to wrong-doing. 

The opposition took a firm stand, but despite this Mac- 
quarie persisted in his schemes of reform. He strove to 
force the emancipists into such professions and trades as 
were open to them, and in so doing found that he had stirred 
up a veritable hornet's nest. Shamefully duped by his 
proteges and cordially hated by the settlers, over whose 
objections he rode rough-shod, the Governor proceeded to 
further imperil his position. He was a man of big ideas, 
but with the weakness of vanity. Public works, which 
would give employment to many, were set in progress, road- 
making, bridge-building, and the construction of schools 
and other institutions being commenced in various directions. 
There were many enemies ready to condemn these ventures 
as reckless extravagance and to help in bringing about his 
downfall. An agitation was set on foot that called the 
attention of the home authorities to the state of affairs, 
and in 1818 Commissioner Bigge was despatched from 
England to make inquiry into the alleged maladministra- 
tion. This official's report was adverse ; three years later 
Macquarie was recalled. 

Before leaving this chapter of Australian history it is 
necessary to refer to the several exploring expeditions that 
at this period aided in the expansion of the colony. Until 
Macquarie's appointment very little had been done in this 
direction. Under his care the formidable barrier of the 



Blue Mountains was broken through, and a wide region of 
fine pastoral and agricultural land beyond laid open to 
occupation. The leaders in this work were Gregory Blax- 
land, Lieutenant William Lawson (102nd Regiment), 
and William Charles Went worth. These three were the 
first to cross the mountains. In their trail followed George 
Evans, Deputy-Surveyor-General, to discover the Fish, 
Macquarie and Lachlan rivers ; and the brothers Hume, 
who opened up the country round Berrima and Bong-Bong. 
To facilitate the settlement of this new territory roads were 
quickly made, and soon the township of Bathurst sprang 
into being. 

Other explorers of note were John Oxley, the Surveyor- 
General, and a surveyor named Meehan. In his first journey 
in 1817, the former traced the Lachlan and Macquarie 
rivers for some hundreds of miles, at the same time that he 
found many smaller streams running north-east. Twice, 
we read, Oxley was on the point of discovering the Murrum- 
bidgee, but he returned to Sydney without having seen its 
waters and with the conviction that the interior was too 
marshy to be habitable. 

Oxley 's second journey, a year later, carried him down 
the Macquarie to Mount Harris, whence he struck out across 
country to Port Macquarie. In the course of this trip he 
discovered and named several new rivers, including the 
Castlereagh, the Peel and the Apsley, with the rich grass- 
lands of the Liverpool Plains. 

Meehan's chief contribution to the sum total of explora- 
tion was the opening up of the Goulburn Plains and the 
adjoining district, a wide and fertile expanse of land. Into 
all this virgin territory, where the blacks had held undis- 
puted dominion, the colonists eagerly flocked, driving their 



sheep and cattle before them. A new era for the colony had 

The encouragement of exploration may be said to have 
been the brightest feature of Governor Macquarie's reign. 
It was a matter of pride for him that when he left New South 
Wales he had enlarged its bounds by several hundreds of 
miles and thus given a new impetus to colonisation. 





Commissioner Bigge A new order Governor Brisbane A mounted 
police force Governor Darling Bushranging Distribution of troops 
A ghost story Black tracking Van Diemen's Land Early troubles 
with convicts Exploration in New South Wales Oxley Allan 
Cunningham Captain Sturt discovers the Darling Sir Thomas 
Mitchell Hamilton Hume at Geelong A settlement at Port Phillip 
John Batman Treaty with the natives Melbourne founded Swan 
River settlement in West Australia Perth and Fremantle Wake- 
field's scheme South Australia colonised. 

MR. COMMISSIONER BIGGE'S report foreshadowed 
many wise and far-reaching reforms, but perhaps 
the most important of its recommendations was that which 
urged the further settlement of the colony. The old view 
which had held New South Wales cheaply as a dumping- 
ground for criminals was now to be abandoned : there were 
other and greater possibilities in the new country. Let free 
settlers be encouraged to go out, said the Commissioner in 
effect, young men of good character and some capital ; let 
land be offered them on easy terms ; and, further, let convict 
labour be supplied them with proper restrictions. New 
South Wales had not been altogether successful as a gaol ; 
it was worth experimenting upon as a plantation of such a 
nature as the ones instituted two hundred years before in 
the New World. 

This broader scheme in due course commended itself to 
17 c 


the authorities at home, and steps were taken to induce the 
right type of immigrant to settle on the soil. Young English 
farmers who welcomed a wider field for their energies 
quickly followed each other to the colony. In a little time 
the new districts opened up by Oxley, Hume and their 
fellow-pioneers, were dotted with farms ; and small com- 
munities formed that were destined to be the nuclei of 
thriving townships. A brighter future for New South 
Wales seemed to be dawning. 

The several features of Commissioner Bigge's report do not 
need to be particularised here. They dealt largely with 
constitutional matters, with the judicial and ecclesiastical 
establishments, and with trade and agriculture. Things 
had come to a pretty pass, what with mismanagement and 
the bitter quarrelling between opposing factions. It was 
high time that the tangle was straightened out. The primary 
reason for the Commissioner's inquiry was the question of 
penal discipline, and it is interesting to note that even at 
this stage the English Government was contemplating 
discontinuing transportation to the colony as a matter of 
expediency. Touching this point Mr. Bigge was of opinion 
that the system might be continued, but subject to certain 
modifications. The emancipist class was not to be encour- 
aged to the degree favoured by the late Governor, while by 
means of a reformed judicature the rights of all classes were 
to be safeguarded. 

The new Governor who was selected to supervise this new 
order of things was Sir Thomas Brisbane. He arrived in the 
colony in the autumn of 1821. Much was done in the 
direction of progress, but unfortunately for Sir Thomas, 
during the four years of his rule he was mostly embroiled 
with the newspaper press, which warmly espoused the cause 



of the emancipists, and which undoubtedly did some harm 
in influencing the ill-balanced minds of the convict popula- 
tion. At this period a new evil to be combated arose from 
the wider distribution of the prisoners assigned to settlers. 
This system certainly obviated the employment of large 
gangs of convicts in or near the towns, but despite this 
fact, and the care exercised in the allotment of these 
bond-servants, the worse elements could not be eliminated. 
In too many instances desperate characters found oppor- 
tunity to escape from servitude (sometimes, it must be 
admitted, with reason, for not all the settlers were easy 
taskmasters), and drifted naturally into a career of bush- 
ranging. This new phase of crime called for special measures 
of repression ; for the first time in the history of the colony 
we read of a mounted police force being constituted. The 
members of this body were drawn from the regiments then 
in New South Wales, for the time was not yet come when 
the military were to be superseded by a civil force. 

During the governorship of Sir Ralph Darling, Brisbane's 
successor, the colony passed through another crisis. A 
protracted period of drought spread ruin far and wide among 
the settlers. As grass and water failed so the cattle and 
sheep died, and once again the question of food supplies 
assumed a serious aspect. In all this depression one marked 
result was an increase in crime. A district that particularly 
suffered was that of Emu Plains, through which passed the 
Western Road that linked Sydney with Bathurst. Here 
in the vicinity of the tableland of the Blue Mountains, were 
numerous hiding-places wherein the bushrangers might find 
refuge after their raids, and the newspapers of that date 
bear ample witness to the difficulties entailed by pursuit. 
Within a few miles' radius of Sydney, too, many atrocities 



were perpetrated. We read that the chief constable of 
Parramatta received much commendation from the Gover- 
nor for his capture of one Dalton, a noted desperado who 
belonged to a gang which terrorised the neighbourhood. 
In this affair one of the bushrangers was shot dead, a tragic 
fate which the Governor was sanguine enough to hope would 
deter others from following his example. 

The distribution of police troops, as announced in a 
General Order of March 1826, provided for two principal 
districts. Of these the headquarters were Parramatta and 
Bathurst, with a field officer in command at each. The 
former district embraced Windsor, Emu Plains, Liverpool 
and Campbell Town : the latter Wellington Valley and 
Molong Plains, to the north of Bathurst, with detachments 
posted in the south and east " at Cox's River, Weatherboard 
Hut and Springwood." In this same memorandum the 
Governor recommends officers to attach some of the most 
intelligent of the natives to their parties, " as these People 
may be made extremely useful, if properly employed, in 
tracing the Bushrangers and discovering their Haunts. It 
will be left to the Discretion of the Officers to Reward the 
Natives according to their exertions ; for which purposes 
some slop Clothing will be put at their Disposal, and they 
will be at Liberty from Time to Time to furnish them with 
such Provisions as they may require when employed." 

A remarkable instance in which black trackers assisted 
the police at this early date has been put on record. It is 
connected with the murder of an emancipist named Fisher, 
living at Campbell Town. This man was partner with 
another ex-convict, Worrell, and one day mysteriously dis- 
appeared. It was given out that he had taken ship to Eng- 
land, and meanwhile Worrell took possession of his mate's 



property. Nothing more was thought about the matter 
until a story was circulated that " Fisher's ghost " had been 
seen in the neighbourhood of his old home. One, Farley, 
had seen the dead man sitting on a fence at the corner of a 
paddock. The story gained credence among the more 
ignorant and superstitious ones, so that at last investigation 
was demanded. A police trooper, with two natives, began 
a close search for traces of the missing man. Nothing came 
to light, however, until one of the trackers turned his atten- 
tion to a pool of water in the vicinity. " Here," said the 
trooper, in giving evidence afterwards, " Gilbert took a 
corn-stalk which he passed over the surface of the water, 
and put it to his nose and said he ' smelt the fat of a white 
man.' ' The black next turned into a small creek leading 
out of the pool, eventually coming to a stop at a place on its 
bank. " There's something here," he said. And when they 
dug, the body of the murdered man was found. It may 
be added that Worrell was accused and convicted of the 
crime, and that prior to his execution he confessed having 
committed the deed. 1 

The story of bushranging in the early days of New South 
Wales will be told in a later chapter. In this summary of 
events relative to the organisation of a civil police force the 
subject need but be touched upon. It was an agitating factor 
from the first, as we have seen, and through the adminis- 
trations of Sir Ralph Darling and the succeeding Governor, 

1 Mr. G. W. Rusden, who gives the facts of this case in his History of 
Australia, adds an interesting note in regard to the apparition, to which no 
reference was allowed to be made at the trial. He says 

" The Campbell Town ghost story, like all others, was garbled in narra- 
tion. I have corrected current rumours by comparison with the words of a 
trustworthy informant, a medical man, who lived long in the neighbour- 
hood and attended Farley on his death-bed. He often conversed with 
Farley on the subject of the vision which scared him." 



Sir Richard Bourke, it fully occupied the attention of the 
authorities. Many noted criminals were shot down when 
caught red-handed, or were captured and publicly executed, 
but their fates did not prevent others taking to the life of the 
bush. The risk was great, but the booty to be snatched by 
force of arms was often large, and, moreover, Sydney was 
full of " receivers," who offered a ready means of disposing 
of stolen property. By 1830 the conditions of the time were 
such as to call for a special protective measure in the shape 
of a " Bushrangers Act," in which the enlarged powers of 
magistrates were clearly defined. 

But before proceeding further in the historical record 
of New South Wales it is necessary to glance at the other 
penal settlement of Tasmania, or, as it was earlier known, 
Van Diemen's Land. The occupation of the island began 
in 1803, when Governor King despatched parties to take 
possession of the north and south ends. One object of this 
move was to forestall any similar action on the part of the 
French ; the second, and equally vital, object was to ascer- 
tain the island's suitability as a convict station. Tasmania 
has been, perhaps, the worst treated of the Australian states 
in this respect. Having been approved as a future penal 
settlement, it was immediately burdened with the very 
worst types of the criminals deported from England. The 
irreclaimables, the recidivistes, such as France shipped out 
to New Caledonia, were the special inmates of this new 
prison-house. And as the character of the mainland 
altered with the influx of free immigrants, Tasmania 
became more and more of a gaol. 

In these conditions the lot of the island's lieutenant- 
governors was never a happy one. At the first discipline 
was necessarily lax, owing to the scarcity of provisions and 



the obligation on the part of the convicts themselves to hunt 
for food. Those were the days when Lemon, Michael Howe, 
and their no less brutal associates robbed and murdered at 
will. To such a pitch, indeed, did lawlessness attain that in 
1814 it was found imperative to place the whole of the little 
colony under martial law, and to proclaim that any one 
whether bond or free who left his house at night would be 
flogged. A slight improvement was to be noted in Governor 
Macquarie's time, when more free settlers were induced to 
take up land, but for a long period the raids of escaped 
prisoners made existence in Van Diemen's Land precarious, 
at the same time that they procured for the island an unen- 
viable notoriety. At last Lieutenant-Governor Arthur, in 
1826, made a strong effort to cope with the evil, and by his 
stern measures a good deal of the bushranging was stamped 
out. One step taken towards this desirable result was the 
removal of the principal convict settlement at Macquarie 
Harbour, on the western side, to a point near Hobart. At 
this latter place, Port Arthur, escape from surveillance was 
rendered more difficult, and the soldier-warders were able to 
deal more effectively with such outbreaks as did occur. 

It was from Van Diemen's Land that the original settle- 
ment of Port Phillip, and what is now the flourishing city 
of Melbourne, had its origin. This leads us to consider for 
a moment the progress of exploration at this stage of affairs. 
Surveyor-General Oxley, as we have seen, had done good 
work in 1817 in opening up the western interior. He was 
to do yet more. A few years later, in company with Lieu- 
tenant Stirling, he pushed along the coast to the north and 
discovered the Brisbane river, which empties itself into 
Moreton Bay. A tiny settlement sprang up round the 
river's mouth, for the land proved attractive to farmers, and 



in this way was laid the foundation for the future colony of 

Among the intrepid explorers of these early days who 
heard and answered the " everlasting whisper " 

" Something hidden. Go and find it. Go and look behind the 

Something lost behind the Ranges. Lost and waiting for you. 


were Allan Cunningham, Charles Sturt and Thomas Mitchell. 
The first of these was a protege of Sir Joseph Banks and a 
botanist of no small repute. He had had experience of 
Australian pioneer work under Oxley, whom he accompanied 
on the expedition up the Lachlan in 1817. In 1822 Cunning- 
ham undertook a journey over the Blue Mountains into the 
Bathurst district, and in the following year sought to find 
a practicable pass across the Liverpool Range to the 
Liverpool Plains. This resulted in the discovery of an easy 
route, named by him Pandora's Pass. Afterwards he spent 
some time surveying the river Brisbane to the head of the 
boat navigation. 

Cunningham's explorations were continued year by 
year, and added much to our knowledge of the interior. In 
1827 a notable journey brought about the discovery of the 
Darling Downs, a fine pasturage. This was the crown of his 
achievements. He next proceeded to open up a road into 
this district from Moreton Bay, but in the few years before 
his death, in 1839, he was occupied mainly in botanical 
work in the colony. 

Captain Charles Sturt holds a high place in the annals 
of Australian exploration. He went out to New South 
Wales with his regiment, the 39th Foot, and it was not long 
before the mystery of the interior captivated his imagina- 



i. Original police station near Cooper's Creek, Northern Territory. 2. Modern type [of station at 

Kapunda, S.A. 


tion . The theory that there was a central sea or lake some- 
where at the back of the mountains was being hotly disputed. 
Sturt inclined to this belief, and to solve the question led an 
expedition down the Macquarie. As had been Oxley's 
experience, he now found himself baffled by the marshes in 
which the river appeared to lose itself, but farther on, to 
the north-west, he found a nobler river which he named the 
Darling. This large stream, the water of which to his dis- 
appointment proved to be too salt for drinking, was explored 
for some length, and then the party returned to Sydney. 
The question of the Darling's outflow was now all-important. 
Such a big river must be the main drain of a very extensive 
tract of country. To determine whether it ran south or 
west was Sturt's next concern. In the following year (1829) 
he attacked the problem by descending the Murrumbidgee 
and thence launching himself upon the Murray. After an 
exciting voyage and encountering many privations, the 
explorer discovered the junction of the river with the Darling. 
He then followed the Murray to its termination in Lake 
Alexandrina and saw that he had reached the coast at 
Encounter Bay. 

Sturt's last and greatest journey was undertaken in 1844. 
This time he plunged right into the ulterior of South Aus- 
tralia, but it was only to find that the country was one large 
arid desert. The explorer's journal records the terrible 
difficulties and hardships of the expedition, which are almost 
without parallel. However, Cooper's Creek, with its wide 
sheets of water, was at last discovered, after which the 
return journey to Adelaide was made. 

To Thomas Mitchell, Surveyor-General under Governor 
Bourke, fell the duty of mapping out Eastern Australia. 
His first journey was made in 1831, in the northern districts. 



From then on, until 1836, he was busy in exploring the coun- 
try between the Darling and the Darling Downs, following 
the river for a greater length than any previous traveller 
and passing through much new land of favourable nature. 
So impressed, indeed, was he with the beauty of that region 
that he christened it Australia Felix. Mitchell, who was 
knighted for his work, later made important expeditions 
into the northern tropical districts, discovering the Fitzroy 
Downs, and several large rivers. 

At the same time that these explorers were engaged in 
filling in the map of the continent another famous pioneer was 
at work in the south. Hamilton Hume, to whom reference 
has been already made, directed his attention in 1824 to an 
overland route from Sydney to Port Phillip. In this famous 
journey he was accompanied by W. H. Hovell, an old sea- 
captain, and a party of assigned convicts. The expedition 
was in the main successful, although it failed to reach the 
head of the harbour. The explorers, partly baffled by the 
thick scrub of the mountain range, were turned to the inlet 
whereon the present town of Geelong stands. But in the 
course of their travels they discovered and named four rivers 
including the Hume (afterwards re-named the Murray), the 
Ovens and the Hovell, or Goulburn. 

The outcome of all this exploration was a wider sphere 
of settlement. Wherever new fertile land was opened up, or 
rich pasturage grounds, thither colonists hastened, so that 
every year that went by saw the bounds of New South Wales 
stretching farther and farther afield. One such settlement, 
which had most important results, was that which had its 
origin in Tasmania and to which reference has been made. 
In 1827 John Batman, a free settler in Van Diemen's Land, 
felt dissatisfied with the conditions in which he was living. 



The island was first and foremost a gaol, with the most un- 
desirable of criminals within its walls, and, moreover, news 
was to hand of a very fertile and attractive land the other 
side of Bass Straits. Three brothers named Henty, resi- 
dents of Launceston, had been adventurous enough to start 
a little colony at Portland, about 150 miles west of Port 
Phillip, and were doing very well indeed. Batman saw no 
reason why he should not follow their example. 

Early in 1835 he formed a small association, comprising 
himself and ten companions, with a view to colonising Port 
Phillip and engaging in stock breeding. In May of that 
year he made a preliminary trip to the mainland and in an 
interview with the aborigines entered into a treaty with 
them by which he purchased " two large tracts of land about 
600,000 acres, more or less." By this compact l Batman 
and his company became possessed of all the western side of 
Port Phillip Bay and a large portion to the north and north- 
east. Shortly before returning home he had the curiosity 
to explore the Yarra River, and was highly pleased with what 
he saw. " The boat," he writes, " went up the large river, 
which comes from the east, and I am glad to state about six 
miles up found the river all good water and very deep. This 
will be the place for a village." 

Batman's discovery had results of immediate importance. 
While he was back in Van Diemen's Land endeavouring to 
secure a formal grant of the land from the Government, 
another Launceston townsman, John Pascoe Fawkner, found 
his way to Port Phillip and the site of Batman's projected 
" village." He promptly settled himself on the spot, so that 
on Batman's second trip thither the latter found he was 

1 As an interesting example of early transactions with natives this docu- 
ment is given in full in Appendix B. 



forestalled. A quarrel between the two parties ensued. 
Government interference was then called for, and as the 
best way out of the difficulty Governor Bourke decided to 
take the land in the name of the Crown and dispose of it by 
public auction. This was accordingly done, the lots being 
bought by such settlers as had followed the original dis- 
coverers. The new township thus inaugurated was named 
Melbourne, in honour of the English Prime Minister. As his 
claim had been disallowed, and the memorable treaty with 
the natives ignored, Batman was consoled by receiving a 
valuable grant of land in the neighbourhood of Geelong. 
And thus was begun the colony which was afterwards to 
grow into the flourishing State of Victoria and become a for- 
midable rival to its older sister, New South Wales. 

While these momentous events were transpiring in eastern 
Australia the work of colonisation was being carried on quietly 
elsewhere in the continent. In the west the attention of the 
home Government had been directed to the need for occupa- 
tion by reason of French activity in the Pacific. To frus- 
trate any rival attempt at settlement Governor Darling of 
New South Wales acting under instructions from the Earl 
of Bathurst, Colonial Secretary sent a party to hoist the 
British flag at King George's Sound. This first contingent 
was composed of soldiers and convicts to the number of 
eighty, under the command of Major Lockyer, but the ex- 
periment only lasted five years. Before the convict station 
was abandoned, however, Governor Darling despatched 
a little expedition to investigate and report upon the coast 
beyond the Leeuwin. Captain Stirling, of H.M. frigate 
Success, who was selected for this duty, reached the mouth 
of the Swan River early in 1827, and decided that the locality 
was a favourable one for settlement. So glowing was his 



account of this part of the coast that the Governor sent him 
back to England to awaken interest in this new Australian 

Stirling succeeded in his task, He was entrusted with 
the work of organising a colony and received his appointment 
as the first lieutenant-governor. In due course Captain 
Fremantle, in H.M.S. Challenger, proceeded to the Swan 
River and took possession of " all that part of New Holland 
which is not included within the territory of New South 
Wales," in the King's name. Four weeks later Captain Stirling 
himself arrived, with a company of settlers and their 
families, eight hundred strong, in the transport Parmelia. 
This was in June 1829. On the 18th of that month the 
colony of Western Australia was proclaimed. 

The settlements which quickly sprang up around the new 
townships of Perth and Fremantle were of the nature of an 
experiment, and their progress was watched with the keenest 
interest. Grants of land were made to immigrants who 
came out from England to grow tobacco and cotton, sugar 
or flax, to breed cattle and horses, and develop the country in 
whatever way possible. Every one was to be a landed pro- 
prietor under the scheme : " For every 3 worth of goods 
introduced into the colony, forty acres were given, but the 
fee simple was not to be had by the grantee until Is. Qd. per 
acre had been expended on its improvement." It was a 
Utopian scheme, in fact, and like others of its kind it con- 
tained many defects. Once the land near Perth had been 
snapped up, intending settlers were compelled to take up 
blocks of unknown country far afield, to locate themselves 
in the scrub, and this with little or no idea of the difficulties 
to be faced. As a consequence there were many disastrous 
failures. Hostile blacks speared the whites at outlying sta- 

- 30 


tions, crops failed through drought and other causes, and a 
starving time set in. It was history repeating itself. But 
just as New South Wales had won through despite adverse 
circumstances, so in time Western Australia took the tide at 
the flood and went steadily forward to success. 

In dealing with Western Australia at a later period we 
shall see that when her fortunes were at a low ebb recourse 
was had to convictism. Always a dangerous experiment, as 
the case of New South Wales proved, it was rigidly excluded 
from the programme when the new colony of South 
Australia was launched. In this project Mr. Edward Gibbon 
Wakefield, a distinguished political economist, was the 
leading spirit. In 1829 he showed himself a keen and bitter 
critic of the policy followed in New South Wales, and promul- 
gated his scheme for an ideal Australian colony. Briefly 
stated, his system of colonisation was based on two principles : 
the sale of land at a reasonable price, in lieu of free, or 
almost free grants, and the introduction of labour from 
England, to be paid for by the money thus acquired. It was 
to be a combination of capital and labour. Immigrants with 
means were to be induced to settle on the land, and such 
land as was parcelled out was to be carefully selected. 
The indiscriminate allotment of grants that had character- 
ised the early administration in Western Australia conveyed 
its own lesson. 

In 1834 was formed " The South Australian Association," 
confirmed by a special Act of Parliament. By this Act the 
limits of the colony were defined, the whole comprising over 
300,000 square miles, while a body of Commissioners was ap- 
pointed to carry out the scheme of emigration and settlement 
and watch over the welfare of the colonists. The price of 
land was fixed at 12s. an acre, with an understanding that 






-* * l 


this should be increased in due time to 1 an acre. Intend- 
ing emigrants were offered the choice of purchase on these 
terms or of lease for a period of three years. As a special 
feature of the system was the encouragement of family emi- 
gration, the Act expressly stipulated that " No person hav- 
ing a husband or wife, or a child or children, shall, by means 
of the emigration fund, obtain a passage to the Colony, un- 
less the husband or wife, or the child or children, of such poor 
person shall be conveyed thither." Another noteworthy 
clause provided : " That no person or persons convicted in 
any Court of Justice in Great Britain or Ireland, or elsewhere, 
shall at any time, or under any circumstances, be transported 
as a convict to any place within the limits hereinbefore 

So far so good. There is no doubt that the new colony 
started under the most favourable auspices. But Wakefield 
and most of his supporters at home were entirely ignorant 
of the nature of the country they proposed to populate, and 
were too ready to take for granted the fact that work 
would be found for all. The story of South Australia's early 
years is one of misunderstandings, overbearing and fatuous 
policy, extravagance with public money, and dissensions be- 
tween the Governor and settlers. It was not until Captain 
(afterwards Sir) George Grey assumed the reins of office and 
developed the colony on business-like lines, that a lamentable 
failure was averted and a prosperous future ensured. 

But the history of Australia's welding into a nation 
cannot be told in these pages. Enough has perhaps been 
said to give the reader some idea of the conditions of the 
island-continent in the first years of her making, and from 
this point the record of mounted police work may be fitly 
taken up. 




Formation and equipment Donohue the bushranger End of a notorious 
gang Police Magistrates appointed in Sydney Police and gaol 
charges The Act of 1838 Increase of the force A smart capture 
The penalty of carelessness Transportation to New South Wales 
abolished Patrols on the main roads Uniforms and arms Captain 
Zouch " Scotchey " Captain Battye and the Western Patrol 
"Sticking up" a mail coach Capture of Day and Wilson Locating 
the " plant " Trouble on the Goldfields The affair at Lambing 
Flat Police charge the mob The lesson of the riot. 

THE first body of mounted police formed in Australia, 
that is, in New South Wales, was called into being 
by Governor Brisbane in 1825. As has been already noted, 
the members of this force were recruited mainly from the 
infantry regiments serving in the colony, so that it began 
with a distinctly military character. To further emphasise 
this the uniform worn was very much like that of the 14th 
Light Dragoons, consisting of a shell jacket with white 
facings, blue pants with white stripe, and a cap without a 
peak. This was for full dress order. When accoutred in 
bush uniform the men wore a patrol jacket and trousers, and 
a cabbage-tree, or Leghorn, hat. The arms used were sabre, 
carbine and horse pistols. 

At first this force was of very low strength. Two 
officers and thirteen troopers is the total given. With this 
small complement it entered upon its duties forthwith, for 
several bushrangers of more or less notoriety were terrorising 

33 D 


the settlers. Donohue was then working the Sydney dis- 
trict. This man is described as being a particularly bad 
specimen of the escaped convict. Of middle height, he was 
powerfully built and possessed a violent temper, while he 
was daring to the point of bravado. With him were associ- 
ated three other men, all of them convicts, but of these 
only two call for mention, Walmsley and Webber. 

" During four years," says Mr. White, in his History of 
Bushranging, " the country rang with reports of their des- 
perate deeds, to narrate which in detail would fill a volume. 
Cases of ' sticking up ' on the road or in houses were of daily 
occurrence. Settlers and others were robbed, completely 
stripped, and left in the bush to make their way home as best 
they could. Nor did the ladies even escape, for there were 
several instances hi which it was related that the robbers had 
taken the earrings from their ears, and the rings from their 
fingers these outrages being committed close to Sydney. 

" A Mr. Eaton was proceeding from Sydney towards 
Liverpool on horseback when Donohue or one of his gang 
fired at him from the side of the road and severely wounded 
him. After he had fallen two members of the gang robbed 
him of his money and valuables and a portion of his clothing, 
and then decamped, leaving him bleeding in the road. 
Before nightfall, however, some settlers on their way to town 
picked up Mr. Eaton and carried him home. 

" Next day a young man who had gone up to inspect some 
cattle at Liverpool was deliberately shot in the neck and 
chest when on the road, and as Donohue and Underwood 
(another of his companions) were then in the neighbourhood 
they received credit for the outrage. No attempt was made 
to rob the victim, who was left lying on the road." 

The Australian and other newspapers of the day were loud 


in their demands that this bushranging gang should be exter- 
minated, and that the roads between Parramatta and Liver- 
pool should be well patrolled. The police were too few in 
number and too scattered to do much good by themselves. 
All attempts to catch the desperadoes were futile until a 
body of influential citizens took the matter in hand. Then 
one day the attacking force, strengthened by a number of 
mounted troopers, surprised Donohue in his retreat in the 
bush, and a desperate fight took place. In the end Donohue 
was shot. Later on his chief associates, Walmsley and 
Webber, were captured, the latter being hanged, while the 
former was sent to the gaol in Van Diemen's Land. 

It was in 1833, when Mr. B. Waddy was in command of 
the mounted police of the colony, that an important step 
was taken towards superseding military rule by civil tri- 
bunals. In that year Governor Bourke passed a law (4 
William IV, No. 7,) which provided for the appointment of 
two or more Police Magistrates for " the Town and Port of 
Sydney," these officials being empowered to enrol a certain 
number of suitable men for a Police Force for the said town 
and port, in order to check robberies and capture felons. 
Governor Brisbane's Mounted Police force had been under 
military jurisdiction, as it had been military in its establish- 
ment. Henceforward the police were to be more under 
civil control, and persons arrested by them were to be tried 
by the magistrates. 

At this juncture, too, the annual charge for police and 
gaols underwent supervision. The Patriotic Association, of 
which William Charles Wentworth x was the spokesman and 
which aimed at many reforms in the constitution, severely 

1 Known as " the Australian Patriot " ; the same Wentworth who 
with Blaxland and Lawson first crossed the Blue Mountains. 



criticised the financial side of the Government. One point 
strongly urged was that Great Britain should bear the greater 
share of the expense incurred by the convicts, but the de- 
mand passed unheeded. Before 1834 police and gaol charges 
had been paid out of the military chest ; in that year the 
British Secretary of State transferred the burden to the 
colonial revenues. This special form of taxation became a 
burning question with Wentworth and his followers, and they 
gave it no rest for several years. 

In August of 1838, when Governor Sir George Gipps had 
succeeded Bourke, another Act was passed (the Border Police 
Act, 2 Victoria, No. 2,) which was designed to regulate the 
police in the towns of Parramatta, Windsor, Maitland, Bath- 
urst, and other places in the colony, where Police Magistrates 
had been appointed with power to enrol constables. By 
this time the mounted force had increased to nine officers, 
a sergeant-major, and one hundred and fifty-six non-com- 
missioned officers and men. All the officers were magis- 
trates by virtue of their commission. As had been the case 
from the beginning, the majority of the rank and file were 
ex-soldiers, the best material that could then be obtained. 
Good shots and good riders, accustomed to discipline and 
very often versed in bush-craft, they were the ideal men 
to be the representatives of law and order. 

The headquarters of the mounted police were at Sydney, 
the chief officer being the commandant. At Bathurst 
and other points were posts of varying strength, according 
to the needs of the district, and, what was of utmost import- 
ance, the main roads were now regularly patrolled by small 
parties. The reason for this latter special duty is not far to 
seek. As the colony developed with wider settlement the 
crime of horse and cattle stealing became more prevalent, 



and the highways of traffic needed close watching to keep a 
check upon the raiders. Especially was this the case on the 
Great Western, Southern and Northern roads, the divisional 
headquarters of which were respectively Bathurst, Goul- 
burn and Armidale. Many were the conflicts between the 
troopers and the cattle-thieves there, and rarely did a 
constable ride out upon his mission without literally carrying 
his life in his hands. 

A good story is told of the capture of some bushrangers of 
this period, the gang having made very free with their neigh- 
bour's property. The hero of the incident was a prominent 
member of the mounted police. 

" This gallant officer," says the chronicler, 1 " having to 

the surprise of the people and garrison of the town of , 

marched one day, as prisoners to the gaol, a body of bush- 
rangers three or four times the strength of his own force, 
was asked by his admiring comrades how he had contrived 
this sweeping capture with such long odds against him. 
The readers of Joe Miller will recollect the Hibernian soldier 
who boasted, according to that veracious annalist, that he 
had made prisoners of a whole section of the enemy, single- 
handed, by surrounding them. Mr. not being an 

Irishman, did no such impossible thing. Stealing cautiously 
through the bush, with his little party of four or five men, he 
espied the banditti, in number about sixteen, busily cooking 
and eating in a hollow some thirty yards below where 
he^stood their arms piled a few paces distant. Leaving 
the men above with orders how to act, and creeping down 
the bank, he suddenly jumped into the midst of the robbers 
shouting out, ' Yield in the King's name, ye bog-trotting 
villains ! ' Then, looking up towards his party, ' Send 

1 Colonel Mundy in Our Antipodes. 

37 ~ 


down,' cried he, ' two file to secure the arms : stand fast 
the remainder, and shoot the first man that moves.' About 
twenty stand of arms were thus taken possession of, hand- 
cuffs were applied as far as they would go, and, incredible 
as it may appear, the disarmed banditti, with their teeth 
drawn, were safely conducted by the captain to a neigh- 
bouring township." 

Yet another story of these early and stirring days 
examples the danger incurred by the police in the execution 
of their duty. It relates to a convict bushranger named 
Cummerford, a member of a gang headed by one Dignum. 
With his leader and another man Cummerford, quite a young 
fellow, had murdered six of their companions in order to free 
themselves for a life in the bush. Later on Dignum made a 
dastardly attempt to kill Cummerford, whereupon the latter 
betook himself to Melbourne, surrendered to the authorities 
and revealed the whole story of the crime. In due course 
the truth of this was proved by a search at the spot indicated 
by the informer, the remains of the murdered men being 

Cummerford himself had accompanied the search party, 
which consisted of a sergeant from an infantry regiment, 
a private soldier, and two police-constables. On the way 
back a sad tragedy occurred. Two of the warders the 
soldier and a constable separated from the others to turn 
back for some stores that had been left behind at the last 
camping-place. The prisoner, meanwhile, had so favour- 
ably impressed the sergeant by his bearing that suspicion 
was disarmed and he was less closely guarded than would 
have been the case otherwise. Whilst a halt was made for 
the evening meal the handcuffs were removed from Cummer- 
ford's wrists, to allow him freedom in eating. The sergeant 



and the remaining constable, a man named Tompkins, then 
busied themselves with the fire, their weapons being placed 
against a tree. In a flash the bushranger saw his chance 
to escape, and seized it. Snatching at one of the guns he 
shot Tompkins fatally and jumped on a horse. The sergeant 
followed with as little delay as possible, but neither he nor 
the others of the party, who came up shortly after, could 
obtain sight of the fugitive. However, Cummerford was 
captured later, while raiding a station, and was eventually 
convicted and hanged. 

The records of the thirties and forties contain numerous 
instances of police bravery, as they do, unfortunately, of 
police recklessness and carelessness, like the case above 
noted. And if newspaper criticism was severe when out- 
rages were committed with alarming frequency, it must be 
remembered that the small number of constables had to 
cover a wide extent of country, the greater part of which 
was bush, and that bush of a difficult kind. One can read 
between the lines, in examining these old records, that the 
troopers had quite as arduous a task before them, as had the 
later members of the force when what is known as the great 
bushranging era set in. Statistics go to show that in one 
year, 1840, crime had increased 50 percent, on the previous 
twelve months' returns. This year 1840, by the way, is 
memorable for the fact that it saw transportation to New 
South Wales abolished. This was effected by an Order in 
Council, following upon urgent representations from the 
colonists. Van Diemen's Land and Norfolk Island were 
thereafter to be the only convict settlements in Australia. 

As the most practicable distribution of the police force 
at command, the troopers were dispositioned on the three 
great roads of the colony. There were thus three divisions, 

39 ~ 


each in charge of a superintendent who had at his disposal 
about fifty men. At Bathurst was Captain Battye, at 
Goulburn Captain Zouch, and at Armidale Captain Scott. 
The headquarters division at Carter's Barracks in Sydney, 
it may be mentioned, was commanded by Captain M'Lerie, 
who acted as paymaster to all the patrols and who after- 
wards became Inspector-General of the force. As a rule, 
the troopers patrolled the roads in couples, looking out for 
and examining suspicious characters, and acting as escorts 
to individuals or to valuable property. 

What were known as the Gold Police came into force in 
the early fifties, on the discovery of the goldfields, these 
being placed directly under the Gold Commission and 
having for their especial work the convoying of the gold- 
trains from the diggings. But a division of duty was not 
found to work satisfactorily. There was not an organised 
system of co-operation, and in 1859 the Gold Police as a 
separate body disappeared, to be merged into the various 

The greater number of the troopers serving in the patrols 
were ex-military men, and their uniform maintained the 
military appearance of the earlier police of 1825. Full 
dress was very similar to that of the 13th Light Dragoons : 
blue trousers with white braid on sides, tight-fitting blue 
shell jacket with red facings, white collar and white 
shoulder-straps, glazed black cross-belt with cartouche box 
for ammunition for carbines and pistols, and cavalry swords 
with white sword-slings. For bush duty the sword was dis- 
pensed with, only the carbine and pistols being carried. A 
peakless round pill-box cap, with white band and white 
button on top, fastened by a chin strap, and high boots with 
heel spurs, completed the dress. For active service the 



uniform consisted of blue cloth trousers without the stripe, 
and a large double-breasted blue jacket without facings, cap 
and boots being the same as before, except when the popular 
" cabbage-tree " hat was worn in hot weather, with often the 
addition of a green veil as protection against mosquitos. 
The Gold Police of the fifties were usually distinguished by 
light helmets. 

The saddle in use at this time was the old military type, 
with horns and holsters for pistols. The trooper carried on 
it, behind him, a valise, and in front his cloak folded into a 
roll. While in the bush he was provided also with a saddle- 
bag containing an outfit for shoeing his mount. The horses 
acquired then were bigger and stronger than those of the 
present day, no horse being under 17 or 18 hands. Endu- 
rance on long trips was a qualification of more importance 
than speed. 

In the Mounted Police Patrols the ranks were : trooper, 
corporal, sergeant, sergeant-major and superintendent. 
Inspectors and sub-inspectors were appointments of a later 

It was on the Great Western and Southern Roads that 
the liveliest times were experienced. The latter highway 
was patrolled by the troopers under Captain Zouch, a 
famous figure in police history. A son of Colonel Zouch, 
who commanded a British regiment in the American war 
of 1812-14, Captain Henry Zouch went from home to Aus- 
tralia with the 4th Foot and was stationed at Sydney and 
Newcastle. In 1834 he was placed in charge of the military 
patrol at Bathurst, but on his regiment leaving for India 
some years later he sold out and settled down on an estate 
to breed horses. Such a capable man, however, was not 
to be overlooked by the authorities, and in 1851, Captain 



Zouch was appointed Gold Commissioner for the Turon 
(now Hargraves) district, and soon afterwards was made 
Superintendent of the Southern Patrol. 

Among the noted characters whom the Goulburn police 
hunted down in the forties was a convict absconder named 
" Scotchey." This ruffian at first frequented the Lachlan 
district, but later for purposes of private revenge, transferred 
his attentions to the Southern Road. A special object of his 
hatred was an overseer named Fry. With three companions 
" Scotchey " surprised his enemy on the latter's station and 
a fierce duel took place, ending in the bushranger's death. 
The mounted troopers, arriving on the scene, took up the 
pursuit and were successful in capturing the rest of the gang. 

The commander of the Western Patrol, Captain Battye, 
was equally noted as a thief -catcher. His district, with 
Bathurst as headquarters, offered many temptations to the 
gentlemen of the road, and some brisk encounters between 
the police and the bushrangers frequently occurred. Here 
is the story of one exploit, partly gleaned from official records 
and partly from the lips of one who took part therein. 

In the month of June 1859, the township of Hartley, near 
Bathurst, was thrown into commotion by the arrival of the 
stage-coach for Sydney with the startling news that it had 
been " stuck up." The mail-bags, containing several 
thousands of pounds in cash, bills and other forms, had been 
carried off by the robber, one man only having been seen 
at the time. Andill, the driver of the coach, stated that he 
had been compelled to surrender the bags. His two pas- 
sengers were walking up the hill some distance ahead, and a 
gun levelled straight at him was an unanswerable argument. 
All that could be done now was to hasten back to the scene 
of the outrage and get upon the tracks of the thief. 



A few of the mounted police then in the town at once 
rode off with Andill to the spot, but the closest search failed 
to reveal anything. As a matter of fact, the bushranger, an 
ex-convict named Day, had been joined by a mate soon after 
securing his booty, and the two had made off to a favourite 
retreat in the scrub. There, while the troopers were scour- 
ing the country, they were engaged in sorting out the more 
valuable of the letters and packets. 

Day, it may be said, was one of the Van Diemen's Land 
" irreclaimables " who had worked out his sentence at Port 
Arthur and then betaken himself to New South Wajes . He 
was known at the Turon diggings, whither he went with the 
crowd at the time of the gold-rush, and known also at other 
places as a blacksmith by occupation. Trade must have 
been dull, or, like so many other old " lags," he could not 
resist the " call of the bush," for after some years of com- 
parative honesty, he suddenly disappeared to make his debut 
in a new role. The chief object he had in view, it was 
afterwards learned, was the gold-train from the fields, which 
had passed over the same route on the previous day. Owing 
to the number of armed police in the escort Day and his 
companion had thought better of their plans and allowed 
it to go on its way unmolested. 

The " sticking up " of the coach had been done in broad 
daylight. Late the same evening the police at Hartley 
gained the first news of the robbers. A messenger from 
" Walton's," a well-known hostelry on the Mudgee road 
about a dozen miles distant, informed the chief constable 
that his master believed the man wanted was in the house. 
There were two men, he went on to add, and they were under 
lock and key on suspicion. 

;< You can bet we were not long in following this up," 


said the police officer who related the sequel to the writer. 
" Two troopers rode off to Walton's and jumped on the men 
in their rooms. What they found there was pretty clear 
evidence money in gold and notes, and a letter presumably 
stolen from the mail. Our fellows brought the pair back to 
the station, where they were safely locked up. In the 
morning we tried their boots in the tracks on the road and 
found they fitted exactly. 

" An hour or so later Captain Battye came into town and 
examined the prisoners himself. As it was desirable to get 
some or all of the stolen property, he ordered a party to 
saddle up, as he meant to make a search in the bush. We 
started out after noon, taking with us the prisoner Wilson, 
Day's accomplice. This chap, we found, had a grudge 
against Day, and Battye thought he might be induced to 
' split.' It was worth trying, anyhow. But Wilson perhaps 
thought he might get a lighter sentence than the other, and 
lift the stuff they had planted before Day got out of gaol, 
so he kept his face shut and said nothing. The Captain, 
however, was too old a hand to be bluffed. 

" ' All right, my man/ he said, ' we can wait if you're 
going to play that game. As it's getting dark we'll camp for 
the night. I shall chain you to a tree and you can think it 

" Wilson thought it over very quickly. It was cold at 
nights, being winter, and he didn't relish the prospect. 
Besides which, he saw that our Captain meant business. 

" ' I'll own up,' he said , ' the stuff's a good way off yet, 
but I'll take you straight to it.' 

" Having learned where the ' plant ' was, we rode back 
to Hartley for the night, and left the search for the next day. 
Then, with Wilson leading the way, we started off again on a 



forty miles' trip, about fifteen of which we did on foot. And 
we found the stuff buried in a gully, all, that is, that they 
had not destroyed. In the end Day received a long sentence 
of penal servitude. Wilson was to have been brought up 
for trial, and would no doubt have been let off as he turned 
Queen's evidence, but he broke out of prison and got clear 
away. No one ever saw him again that I know of." 

What other scenes were enacted on the Western and 
Southern Roads when Gardiner and his imitators had their 
day will be told in a later chapter. Before passing on to 
these more notorious bushrangers it is important to detail 
the events that led up to a notable development in police 
history. Up to this date there was little co-ordination in the 
force. Each branch of the police, the patrols, the escorts, 
guards and town constables, had its own chief ; the time 
was approaching for a more systematic arrangement. This 
became the more urgent when, on the opening up of the 
new goldfields in New South Wales and Victoria, some 
alarming riots occurred and the resources of the police were 
taxed to their utmost. 

In 1854 occurred the famous affair of the Eureka Stock- 
ade, at Ballarat. 1 A few years later came the outbreaks 
at Jembaicumbene, near Braidwood, and at Kiandra. The 
Southern Patrol was called upon to deal with both these 
latter disorders, and hard work did the troopers have in 
restoring peace among the miners. At Kiandra the reserve 
force from Carter's Barracks, Sydney, under Captain M'Lerie, 
was summoned to assist, so determined was the attitude 
of the rioters. 

But Lambing Flat, in 1861, did most to effect a change 
in affairs. On the rush to this field taking place a population 

1 See p. 100 for full account. 




of nearly five thousand was scattered over the ground in 
huts and tents. There were plenty of genuine diggers, of 
course, anxious to try their luck on new claims, but with 
them came a large number of the worse types, including 
ex-convicts who expected to reap a golden harvest from their 
neighbours. There came, also, a body of Chinamen, of 
whom numbers were always to be found at these rushes. It 
was this element which precipitated the trouble. 

The Chinamen had settled themselves at Tipperary 
Gully, on the fringe of the Flat. The laws of the mining 
fields did not allow foreigners to pitch their camps among 
the white men. But though they had complied with this 
regulation, and behaved themselves in as orderly a manner 
as could be wished, they were not to be left in peace. The 
lawless ones among the diggers made up their minds that the 
" Chinks " were not to be tolerated so close, and at a " Miners' 
Protective League " meeting a resolution was passed that 
they should be driven out. The agitators did not let the 
grass grow under their feet. One night, before the police 
had any warning of their intention, over a thousand armed 
miners made a swoop down on the unsuspecting Chinamen 
in the Gully and swept it clear from end to end. Huts were 
burned, property was destroyed, the Celestials were sent 
flying for their lives, and all their hard-earned gold was 
carried off. 

At the police station on the fields was only a handful 
of men, insufficient to cope with any serious disorder. 
When news of the riot came, therefore, the sergeant in 
charge (Saunderson) x sent off for reinforcements. These 
arrived eventually, but in the meantime the first step had 
been taken by arresting three of the supposed ringleaders. 

1 Afterwards superintendent of the Bathurst district. 

- 4 6- 


The latter were confined in the lock-up, which, as at all bush 
stations, was roughly composed of timber and was guarded 
by a strong outer stockade. No immediate attempt at 
rescue was made by the miners, but the calling up of extra 
mounted police was soon to be justified. 

" The police camp was quiet at eight o'clock that night," 
says one account, " yet expectant, for it was known that the 
mob was gathering in the streets of the township, and pres- 
ently the sounds of music and revelry were heard. The 
band played ' Garryowen,' * Cheer, Boys, Cheer/ and * See 
the Conquering Hero Comes,' and thus the crowd marched 
forward towards the stockade, carrying banners and number- 
ing between 2,500 and 3,000 strong. The police were drawn 
up outside the stockade awaiting their coming. The mounted 
police were in two divisions, thirty in one and fifteen in the 
other. These men were posted on the right and front wing 
of the stockade. The footmen and others were drawn up 
in front of the left wing. In all the police force numbered 
less than a hundred men. For arms they had carbines and 
pistols, the mounted troopers having also swords. Captain 
Zouch and Mr. Griffin, the Gold Commissioner, took com- 
mand of operations, under them being Sub-Inspector 
M'Lerie, (the son of Captain M'Lerie of the Sydney detach- 
ment), and Sergeant-Major Stevenson, an officer of tried 

Having come near to the stockade, the leaders of the mob 
announced that they demanded the release of the prisoners. 
Captain Zouch replied that this could not be done, that the 
men in custody would be brought before the court in the 
usual course ; and both he and Mr. Commissioner Griffin did 
their best to persuade the excited miners to disperse peace- 
fully. Little heed, however, was paid to their words. The 


mob was bent on freeing the prisoners, and it was evident 
by the free display of weapons on their part that they would 
not stop at violence to effect their object. Some of the 
prominent malcontents now proposed to have an interview 
with the prisoners. This was granted, and a body of miners 
entered the stockade under police escort. The result of 
their mission was only to further inflame the crowd's resolve 
to free their comrades at any cost. Wild cheers and cries 
of " Have 'em out ! Burn the gaol down ! " broke out, and 
the police saw that matters were approaching a crisis. 

" Very well," said Mr. Griffin, " the blame may rest with 
you." The Commissioner then repeated from memory the 
words of the Riot Act, in answer to which the mob opened 
fire with a volley. At this Captain Zouch ordered the police 
to advance, whereupon Sub-Inspector M'Lerie, at the head 
of his division of mounted police, charged at the crowd with 
drawn swords. The miners' ranks broke before this onset, 
and although constant firing was kept up at the troopers 
there was no organised opposition. Behind the mounted 
men came the foot-police, firing steadily at intervals and 
helping to drive the rabble towards the Burrangong Creek. 
M'Lerie's troopers now rode back to re-form, and the other 
division, under Sergeant-Major Stevenson, galloped forward 
to complete the rout. As it was now dark this was no easy 
task, but by this time the miners were beginning to lose 
spirit. Once more an attack was made upon the stockade, 
and once more a determined charge by the mounted troopers 
carried the day. Scattered in all directions, and many of 
them badly wounded by swords and bullets, the rioters melted 
away and by 3 a.m. the battle of Lambing Flat was over. 

But although the first victory had fallen to the police 
the trouble was not ended. Eight miners had been killed in 

- 4 8- 

f^y t-Sf-e 


the skirmish, and the fate of these added fuel to the fire of 
the mob's resentment. In the morning there was a general 
roll-up. Every able-bodied man at the diggings was im- 
pressed into service, arms and ammunition were secured in 
large quantities, and the men prepared for an assault on the 
police stockade that should be final. It looked as if there 
were going to be much bloodshed, and in no little alarm the 
non-combatant settlers fled with their families into the hills 
for safety. 

The situation was now so serious that Captain Zouch 
thought it wisest to carry off his prisoners to Yass and 
apprise the Government of what had occurred. This was 
accordingly done. The Colonial Secretary, Mr. Cowper, 
recognised the urgency for dealing quickly and sharply with 
such an outbreak, and ere long a large body of soldiers, 
bluejackets (from H.M.S. Fawn lying at Sydney), and police 
were marching towards the diggings. They arrived to find 
Lambing Flat in a state of anarchy. The mob had wreaked 
its vengeance first by burning down the police station, and 
had then proceeded to wreck every other Government build- 
ing on the fields. At the sight of so formidable an array, 
however, the miners gave up the struggle. From that time 
peace was restored, and the Flat experienced no further 
trouble from rioting. 

On its side the Government had also learnt a lesson. It 
was clear to Mr. Cowper that the existing police system was 
unsatisfactory, with its numerous sub-divisions that acted 
independently of each other and had no cohesion. The 
outbreak on the goldfields was to be responsible for a new 
order of things, for a statute which was to formulate a force 
that would meet all the varied requirements of the colony. 
In 1862 the present Police Act (25 Viet. No. 16) passed into law. 

49 * 




Their origin The " bush " Van Diemen's Land types Jeffries and 
Dunne Michael Howe Repeated escapes A price on his head 
Capture and death Matthew Brady The fate of a traitor Attack 
on Sorell Gaol Surrender to John Batman Misplaced sympathy 
" Mosquito," bushranger Martin Cash Daring escape from Port 
Arthur Threat to Sir John Franklin A successful trap In New 
South Wales Outbreak at Bathurst Mounted Police and soldiers 
in the field The Bushrangers Act Unwarranted arrests " Farm 
constables " Jackey Jackey A Norfolk Island rising. 

BUSHRANGING may be said to have had its origin in 
two causes. In the first place, there was the 
ineradicable taint in many of the convicts which impelled 
them to revert to a career of crime with or without reason. 
The natural instincts of the thief and murderer de- 
manded to be satisfied. Secondly, life in the road-making 
gangs or under a tyrannical master was often accompanied 
by tortures which maddened a man to desperation. With 
the bush at their very doors, there was every temptation to 
burst their bonds and try the hazard of fortune in the wilds. 1 

1 As every escapee who took to the bush was styled a " bushranger," 
the term was sometimes applied to men who sought this mode of life with- 
out actually staining their hands with crime. These, however, were not 
in the majority. Most of the convicts who broke prison were driven to 
commit robberies in order to live. In the official Gazettes of the day one 
finds the synonymous terms " bolter " and " absconder " almost as freely 



But very few of the convicts who thus escaped from serfdom 
enjoyed their freedom for any length of time. Some were 
killed by the blacks, ever on the look-out for isolated white 
men ; others were shot down red-handed by soldiers and 
police ; others again were captured to expiate their crimes 
on the gallows, or to be sentenced to long terms of imprison- 

In speaking of the Australian " bush," be it said, one is 
using a term which covers a variety of country. That of 
the eastern and south-eastern states is mostly characterised 
by gum-trees, black-green eucalypti, more or less thickly 
clustering on gently undulating plains. These level 
stretches extend for many hundreds of miles in unbroken 
monotony. Where the mountain ranges break the sweep of 
the plains the traveller finds more attraction in the mountain 
ash and the box-tree, and the thick tangle of bush and fern 
which clothe the slopes. On the broad reaches of the plain 
there is no undergrowth, only grass which is burnt to a dull 
brown in the heat of summer. This is one kind of " bush," a 
country that as a rule well repays for the labour of clearing 
and cultivation. Very different is the " bush," or " scrub," 
of the interior of southern and western Australia, where the 
trees are replaced by stunted clumps of shrubs and by spiny 
spinifex ; where the grass gives place to dreary wastes of 
sand and stone ; and where there is a scarcity of water. 

It is in these vast expanses behind the mountain ranges 
that the sheep and cattle stations, Australia's principal source 
of wealth, are to be found. Behind them again, stretching 
farther and farther back, it is still " bush " of one kind or 
another, a little-known country which the bush man speaks 
of as the " back of beyond," the " Never-Never land," and 
of which he will tell you new and wonderful stories without 


end. Such, then, is the nature of the country which is 
largely associated in our minds with the gangs of outlaws 
that from time to time have infested it. 

Of the earliest bushrangers for this term may be applied 
to all and sundry prison-breakers the most notorious were 
those who were associated with Van Diemen's Land. They 
were characterised by a ferocity quite in keeping with the 
nature of the class of criminals for whom the island was a 
special reserve. 

Neither New South Wales nor Victoria ever possessed a 
ruffian of the calibre of Jeffries (appropriately named " The 
Monster "), who drove a white woman a settler's wife 
with her baby, before him into the bush, and dashed out the 
infant's brains against a tree so that without its burden she 
might walk faster ! Then there was the equally infamous 
Dunne, of whom a revolting story is told. Having shot a 
blackfellow whose " gin " he desired, he cut off the dead 
man's head and made the woman wear it hung from her 
neck by a string, while he compelled her by threats to accom- 
pany him to his hiding-place. The bushrangers, Michael 
Howe, Matthew Brady, Mosquito, Cash and Kavanagh, were 
some of them little less than wild beasts in their worst 
moments, and their exploits may be set down here as typical 
of the lawlessness of those days. 

Howe was a seaman and shipmaster in a small way in 
England before he took to evil courses. Having been con- 
victed of highway robbery he was transported to Van Die- 
men's Land in 1812, there being assigned to a Mr. Ingle. 
A servant's life (or a " dog's life," as he put it) on a station 
by no means suited his taste, and in a little while he made his 
escape to join a band of bush thieves led by a man named 
Whitehead. This gang, it is said, was twenty strong, com- 



prising an ex-soldier, and two native women who made 
themselves invaluable as spies and trackers. 

The first notable outrage they committed was to attack 
the settlement of New Norfolk, where they " stuck up " 
the settlers and obtained quantities of firearms and ammuni- 
tion. Two other successful raids followed, but in the last one 
Whitehead was seriously wounded. At his leader's request 
Howe killed him, and, as the most dominant of the band, 
he succeeded to the command. The new chief had no small 
opinion of himself. He took the high-sounding title of 
" Governor of the Ranges," drew up formal articles of mem- 
bership which his followers had to sign, and exacted the 
strictest obedience from them. 

For some considerable time Howe evaded all pursuit and 
raided at will. But his own treachery was eventually his 
undoing. He had become attached to a native girl, known 
as " Black Mary," an adherent who served him loyally. One 
day a party of soldiers ran the pair very close, and the bush- 
ranger, to save his own skin, fired at his weaker companion 
to kill her before he took to his heels. However, his inten- 
tion to prevent her falling into the hands of his enemies was 
thwarted, for the bullets did not wound her mortally. 
Black Mary was taken alive, and survived to head the next 
pursuit after the ruffian. By her persistent tracking Howe 
was so closely hunted that he at last sent a message to 
Colonel Sorell, the Governor, offering to surrender on terms. 
Extraordinary as it may appear, Sorell entered into negotia- 
tions, the bargain at length being made that in return for a 
pardon he should betray his comrades. 

Howe yielded, and was consigned to prison pending the 
intercession for his liberty. But the bargain was too one 
sided. Little help was afforded by him to the authorities. 



and in his absence the rest of the gang continued the game 
merrily. Then Howe began to weary of inaction. One 
morning, while taking exercise under the supervision of a 
single constable, he escaped again and was soon with his 
old associates. Of these only a few remained, but fresh 
members swelled the number, for other convicts were at large 
in the bush ready for any enterprise. 

By the treachery of one of the gang Howe was a second 
time brought within reach of the law. He was disarmed and 
bound and conducted along the road to Hobart Town, where 
a handsome reward awaited his captors. But once again 
the bushranger proved one too many for them. Getting a 
hand free he drew a knife, stabbed one of his two guards, and 
with the fellows gun shot the other dead. Thenceforth he 
could entertain no hope of leniency on the part of the 
Governor. The life of the hunted was to be his lot, and he 
betook himself to the bush to play it out to the end. 

In order to expedite the capture of this desperate crimi- 
nal Governor Sorell offered a large reward, to which was 
added the promise of freedom and a passage home if the 
fortunate claimant were a convict. This bait had the 
desired result. A transported sailor named Jack Worrall 
got in touch with one Warburton, a former companion of the 
bushranger. The two of them laid their plans carefully and 
Howe's career came to an end. The manner in which this 
was effected is best told in the actual words of Worrall himself. 

" I was determined," he says, " to make a push for the 
capture of this villain, Mick Howe, for which I was promised 
a passage to England in the next ship that sailed, and the 
amount of regard laid upon his head. I found out a man 
of the n ame of Warburton, who was in the habit of hunting 
kangaroos for their skins, and who had frequently met Howe 



during his excursions, and sometimes furnished him with 
ammunition. He gave me such an account of Howe's habits 
that I felt convinced we could take him with a little assist- 
ance. I therefore spoke to a man named Pugh, belonging 
to the 48th Regiment, one who I knew was a most cool and 
resolute fellow. He immediately entered into my views, 
and having applied to Major Bell, his commanding officer, 
he was recommended by him to the Governor, by whom he 
was permitted to act, and allowed to join us ; so he and I 
went directly to Warburton, who heartily entered into the 
scheme, and all things were arranged for putting it into 

" The plan was this : Pugh and I were to remain in 
Warburton's hut, while Warburton himself was to fall into 
Howe's way. The hut was on the River Shannon, standing 
so completely by itself, and so out of the track of anybody 
who might be feared by Howe, that there was every proba- 
bility [of accomplishing our wishes, and thus ' scotch the 
snake,' as they say, if not kill it. Pugh and I accordingly went 
to the appointed hut. We arrived there before daybreak, 
and having made a hearty breakfast, Warburton set out to 
seek Howe. He took no arms with him, in order to still 
more effectually carry his point, but Pugh and I were pro- 
vided with muskets and pistols. The sun had just been an 
hour up when we saw Warburton and Howe upon the top of 
the hill coming towards the hut. We expected they would 
be with us in a quarter of an hour, and so we sat down upon 
the trunk of a tree inside the hut, calmly waiting their arrival. 
An hour passed, but they did not come, and I crept to the 
door cautiously and peeped out. There I saw them standing 
within a hundred yards of us in earnest conversation ; as I 
learned afterwards, the delay arose from Howe suspecting 



that all was not right. I drew back from the door to my 
station, and about ten minutes after this we plainly heard 
footsteps and the voice of Warburton. 

" Another moment and Howe slowly entered the hut 
his gun presented and cocked. The instant he espied us he 
cried out ' Is that your game ? ' and immediately fired, but 
Pugh's activity prevented the shot from taking effect, for 
he knocked the gun aside. Howe ran off like a wolf. I fired 
but missed. Pugh then halted and took aim at him, but 
also missed. I immediately flung away the gun and ran 
after Howe ; Pugh also pursued ; Warburton was a con- 
siderable distance away. I ran very fast ; so did Howe ; 
and if he had not fallen down an unexpected bank, I should 
not have been fleet enough for him. This fall, however, 
brought me up with him ; he was on his legs and preparing 
to climb a broken bank, which would have given him a free 
run into the wood, when I presented my pistol at him and 
desired him to stand ; he drew forth another, but did not 
level it at me. We were then about fifteen yards from each 
other, the bank he fell from being between us. 

" He stared at me with astonishment, and to tell you 
the truth, I was a little astonished at him, for he was covered 
with patches of kangaroo skins, and wore a black beard a 
haversack and powder horn slung across his shoulders. I 
wore my beard also, and a curious pair we looked. After a 
moment's pause he cried out, ' Black beard against grey 
beard for a million ! ' and fired. I slapped at him, and I 
believe hit him, for he staggered, but rallied again, and was 
clearing the bank between him and me when Pugh ran up 
and with the butt-end of his firelock knocked him down, 
jumped after him, and battered his brains out, just as he 
was opening a clasp knife to defend himself." 


I. A Mounted Police Camel Train. 2. Crossing a River. 


It was a dog's death, and very far removed from the 
end that Howe had pictured for himself. He kept a diary 
in which he wrote down some of the ambitious dreams that 
occupied his mind. It was his hope to have become the 
chief of a great band and so powerful that he could set the 
law at absolute defiance. He more than once asserted 
openly that many of the police who were seeking him were 
actually in league with the gang, and this fact it is not hard 
to believe when we remember that nearly all the constables 
were prisoners of the Crown and not of unimpeachable 

The case of Matthew Brady is the more interesting be- 
cause it serves to reintroduce to us that fine old Victorian 
pioneer, John Batman. In Brady, too, we have a striking 
example of a scoundrel elevated to the position of a hero and 
martyr by a wave of false sentiment. Too much has been 
made of the romantic side of bushranging in the past ; one 
must deprecate a tendency to glorify the deeds of men who 
were nothing more than despicable, hardened thieves and 
cut-throats. A great gulf stretches between the well- 
accoutred, somewhat dandy bushranger of fiction, with his 
fine chivalry and bold bearing, and the Simon Pure ruffian 
who so often killed for the mere lust of killing, who betrayed 
his comrades without hesitation to save his own neck, and 
who led a life of intermittent hardship and misery. 

Brady's strong appeal to the minds of his sympathisers 
was his attitude towards women. By official designation a 
" gentleman convict," x he was scrupulous in treating them 
well and in preventing any act of violence on the part of his 

1 According to the loose system of classifying convicts in vogue in the 
early days of transportation, they were divided into three classes as " town 
thieves," " rural labourers," and " gentlemen." By this last term were 
indicated those who were educated men. 



followers. Whether it was actual chivalry or a mere pose 
which his astute mind suggested would serve him eventually, 
it was admittedly a good trait in his character. But there is 
nothing else to commend him. He figures in the " Newgate 
Calendar " of Australia as a common type of criminal, 
remarkable only for possessing rather more skill and auda- 
city than some of his fellows. 

It was in 1824 that Brady reached Van Diemen's Land 
as a convict. He made up his mind to escape from the 
rigours of the Macquarie Harbour penal settlement at the 
earliest opportunity, and not many months had gone by 
before he was in the bush with half-a-dozen companions. 
By reason of his unusual height and strength, coupled with 
an air of command, he assumed the leadership of the band. 
His followers were sworn to obey him implicitly, and were 
impelled to keep their oath by the certainty that Brady 
would have killed them ruthlessly on the least suspicion of 

As an illustration of his merciless treatment of an enemy 
the following story is told. He was once betrayed by a 
member of his gang and caught by the soldiers while asleep 
in a hut. As he lay helpless on the floor, with arms well 
bound with rope, he asked his two guards for a drink of 
water. Very foolishly both men went out to fill a bucket at 
the stream. It was night time and a fire blazed near the 
hut door. Brady rolled quickly towards it, held his hand 
out over the flames and burnt his bonds. When the soldiers 
returned their prey had escaped. It was only a week later 
that the informer fell into Brady's hands. The bushranger 
was at his supper when the traitor was brought before him. 
" I will give you while I eat my meal," he said curtly ; " you 
can say your prayers." After he had finished he ordered 



the doomed man to walk to a tree some yards away, but 
ere the other had taken many steps Brady put a bullet 
through his head. 

After several minor escapades raids in which they 
plundered settlers, burnt down houses, and incidentally shot 
several people Brady and his gang conceived the bold idea 
of attacking the gaol at Sorell, near Hobart, and freeing 
the prisoners. The plan was carried out successfully. The 
bushrangers descended on the district, made some prisoners, 
lay by until night, and then took the soldier-warders by 
surprise. Most of the latter, with the other captives, were 
locked up in the cells, the original inmates of which had now 
been given their liberty. As a final artistic touch before 
departing, Brady dressed up a log of wood in a soldier's 
tunic, set a cap on it, and left the effigy propped up against 
the gaol door with a musket alongside. 

This deed of daring put a bigger price on Brady's head, 
and set police and self-enrolled thief-takers eagerly search- 
ing for his whereabouts. But the band had a safe retreat 
in the fastnesses of the hills ; they knew every path and 
gully, and laughed at the efforts made to run them 'down. 
To show his contempt for the Governor, who offered a 
tempting reward for his capture, the bushranger retorted 
with an insulting notice that was posted publicly in Hobart. 
It read thus 

" Mountain Home, April 25. It has caused Matthew 
Brady much concern that such a person known as Sir George 
Arthur is at large. Twenty gallons of rum will be given to 
any person that will deliver his person unto me. 

" (Signed) M. BRADY." 

However, Brady had to face the common end of such evil 


doers as himself. Stragglers from the gang were cut off and 
caught, others deserted. Gradually his followers decreased 
in number, until at last the bushranger leader found himself 
alone in the wilds, with the hue and cry concentrated upon 
him. He had been badly wounded in the leg in one encounter 
with his pursuers, and he must have realised that the game 
was about up. 

To John Batman of Launceston belongs the credit of 
capturing Brady single-handed. The settler, who was an 
experienced bushman, spent many days searching the hill 
country and in time got upon the other's tracks. Then one 
morning the two met. The bushranger, a pitiable object 
in his ragged clothes, haggard and dejected, covered Batman 
with his gun. " Are you a soldier ? " he called out, observ- 
ing that the settler had on a military forage cap. Batman 
reassured him on this point and revealed his identity. 
" You'd better surrender, Brady," he said, " there's no chance 
for you." The bushranger lowered his gun, and after con- 
sidering for some moments replied : " You are right, Bat- 
man ; my time is come. I will yield to you because you are 
a brave man." 

That was the end of Matthew Brady's career. The last 
scene of all was the scaffold whereon he paid the just penalty 
of many atrocious crimes. And, remarkable as it may 
appear, there were foolish sentimentalists in plenty to make 
a hero of him and endeavour to secure his pardon. Boriwick, 
in his history of bushranging, says : " Petition followed 
petition for his deliverance from the halter. Settlers told 
of his forbearance, and ladies of his kindness. His cell was 
besieged with visitors, and his table was loaded with presents. 
Baskets of fruit, bouquets of flowers, and dishes of con- 
fectionery prepared by his fair admirers, were tendered in 






abundance to the gaoler for his distinguished captive. The 
last moment came. The dramatic scene was maintained to 
its close. Pinioned, he stood on the scaffold, before a dense 
mass of spectators, who cheered him for his courage, or 
grieved bitterly for his fate. He received the consolations 
of the Roman Catholic faith ; he bade a familiar adieu to 
the gentlemen about him ; and he died more like a patient 
martyr than a felon murderer." 

Such laudation of a criminal was a sad reflection on the 
society of the day, and is in striking contrast to the attitude 
adopted some time earlier while Brady was still at large. 
Then, in fear for their lives, a large number of settlers and 
their wives petitioned Governor Arthur (the successor to 
Sorell) to execute certain of the prisoners then in gaol, and 
thus obviate the possibility of any escaping to turn bush- 
ranger. It is stated that the Governor responded to the 
petition by hanging some forty. 

The bushranger Mosquito was an aboriginal, a member 
of a Sydney tribe who suffered transportation to Van Diemen's 
Land for the murder of his gin. At Macquarie Harbour he 
was soon employed by the authorities in hunting escaped 
convicts, for his powers of tracking were exceptional. But 
the temptation to break prison himself was too strong to be 
resisted, and he finally made a dash for liberty. The next 
that was heard of Mosquito was that he had become the 
leader of a tribe of blacks at Oyster Bay. Over these natives 
he exercised unbounded influence, inducing them to aid him 
in harassing the whites. The island was soon startled by the 
commission of several atrocities. In one case it would be a 
settler's farm attacked and the brutal murder of all its 
occupants, men, women and children. In another the way- 
laying of some party whose mutilated remains in the bush 



told the story of their fate. So terrible a pest did this black- 
fellow and his adopted tribe (they numbered about 200) 
become that a very big reward had to be offered before 
his capture could be effected. He was eventually tracked 
down by another native in the company of two police 
constables, and after making a desperate fight was badly 
wounded. The police carried him back to Hobart and 
there he was duly executed, together with another aborigi- 
nal, Black Jack, who had been prominently associated 
with him. 

Of the same class as Howe and Brady, though of a later 
date, was the bushranger Cash. Martin Cash, to give him 
his full name, fell into evil courses by accident. Wrongly 
suspected of illegally branding some one else's cattle, and 
conscious that as an ex-convict he would be hardly dealt 
with, he fled the police and then stole and sold some animals 
belonging to a man who had defrauded him. Having defied 
the law he made an honest effort to keep straight, but cir- 
cumstances were against him. The police followed too 
closely on his tracks in New South Wales and he accordingly 
took ship to Van Diemen's Land. 

In the story of his life which he subsequently wrote Cash 
tells how he was again wrongfully charged with theft, and 
how, despite his innocence, he became convicted. Sentence 
to a penal settlement followed, but not for long. When out 
with a road party of prisoners he gave his guards the slip and 
hid himself in the bush. However, two days' freedom was 
all he secured ; a search-party chanced upon his retreat and 
he was recaptured. As a dangerous criminal he was now 
heavily leg-ironed, while a closer watch was kept upon his 
movements. The chances of escape, one would have thought, 
were eliminated, but Cash was no ordinary man. Even in 

-6 3 - 


these conditions he found opportunity to break his fetters, 
scale the high stockade surrounding the prison yard, and 
unobserved leave the settlement. 

For a little over a year Cash eluded the vigilance of the 
police. Then one day he was identified by a constable, ap- 
prehended, and a third time re-sentenced to penal servitude. 
Another dash for liberty from Port Arthur and another 
recapture brought him still heavier punishment, and then, 
undeterred by his previous experiences, he made his final 
and successful escape. This time he found two companions 
convicts named Kavanagh and Jones ready to share his 
fortunes. The way to freedom was fraught with many 
difficulties. Armed sentries and big watch dogs patrolled 
the roads and every point on the two narrow strips of land 
that connected the peninsula with the mainland. But by 
clever manoeuvring Cash led his mates through the cordon 
of soldiers and got clear away. 

With fresh clothes and provisions obtained from farm- 
houses and other places which they visited the refugees entered 
upon a career of bushranging. Robbery followed robbery 
in quick succession and the colony experienced a sensation 
that it had not enjoyed for some years. Soldiers and police 
were baffled in their attempts to surprise them. Their 
raids were made with startling unexpectedness and with a 
daring that paralysed opposition. It was about this time 
that the three issued their famous threat to the Governor, 
Sir John Franklin, who had seized the person of Mrs. Cash 
on a charge of " receiving " and lodged her in Hobart gaol, 
" If the said Mrs. Cash is not released forthwith," they 
wrote, " and does not receive proper remuneration, we will 
in the first instance, visit Government House and, beginning 
with Sir John, administer a wholesome lesson in the shape 

-6 4 - 


of a sound flogging. After which we will pay the same 
currency to all his followers." 

There was every reason to believe that this impudent 
threat would be carried into execution, and the authorities 
were in no little alarm for their safety. That the police 
officials not actively engaged in the hunt were in some fear 
is evidenced by the following paragraph from the Hobart 
Town Advertiser, which Mr. White quotes in his account of 
Cash i : 

" So universal has been the panic among the police that 
the acting police magistrate, living in one of the most popu- 
lous towns in the country and at a distance of several miles 
from the scene of their depredations, has actually applied for 
a military force for his own particular protection, fancying, 
as he alleges, that he may be carried off and obliged to pay 
ransom." The same paper, of a later date, contained the 
following : " The perfect insufficiency of the police to 
apprehend Cash and his troupe is at length acknowledged, 
after some months' unavailing efforts. The military have 
been in consequence ordered to their assistance. Thirty- 
nine men, under the command of Lieutenant Doreton and 
Mr. Stephenson, have been ordered to occupy several posts 
in the district which has been the scene of their daring 
exploits. Here, stationed at different points, they may 
intercept them in their progress when necessity compels them 
to leave their haunts, which their knowledge of the locality 
renders secure while they choose to remain in seclusion. 
We have no doubt that these measures will prove success- 

That these measures did not prove immediately success- 
ful was shown by fresh raids upon outlying settlers, whom the 
1 History of Bushranging, by Charles White. Vol. I. 

- 6 5 - F 




bushrangers " stuck up " to a pretty tune. To show his 
contempt for the military, Cash even singled out a well- 
known officer who had been on the search for him, and made 
this gentleman an ignominious prisoner among his own 
household. And so the game went on. The bush " fortress " 
to which the gang retreated when pressed was now well 
stocked with loot, and the trio felt much elation over their 
exploits. But all things come to an end, and bushranging 
is not a business that can be followed with impunity. The 
remarkable success that had attended him so far led Cash 
to take greater risks. A trap was laid for him, and at last 
the police triumphed. 

The bait was a cunning one. Mrs. Cash had been released 
in the expectation that her husband sooner or later would join 
her in Hobart, and so it fell out. The bushranger secretly 
entered the town, where he had friends, and was recognised in 
the street. The hue and cry was raised at once. Cash bolted, 
firing at his pursuers, but the number of these increased at 
every turn. In a short time the way was barred for escape ; 
he was overpowered and manacled after a sharp hand-to- 
hand fight, in which a constable was mortally wounded, and 
was borne off to the lock-up. 

At his trial Cash was placed in the dock with Kavanagh, 
who, having been incapacitated by the accidental discharge 
of his gun, had fallen into the hands of the police some weeks 
before. The two men were condemned to death, but a 
reprieve was obtained and the sentence altered to trans- 
portation for life. In the end Cash turned over a new leaf. 
Having served a long term at Norfolk Island with good 
conduct, he gained release and eventually became a staid 
farmer in the vicinity of Hobart. Both his companions, 
Kavanagh and Jones, ended their careers on the gallows. 



Of bushrangers who created a reign of terror in New 
South Wales and the outlying settlements which later 
formed the separate colony of Victoria, some mention has 
been already made. To enumerate in full the immediate 
imitators of Donohue and Underwood would occupy many 
pages, and but a summary of them can be included here. 
A great number of the most notable of these gangs operated 
on the Western Road, afterwards the scene of many desper- 
ate affrays with the better-known bushrangers of the sixties. 
It is to these, therefore, that we may first turn. 

In the Bathurst district in 1826 was a band led by a man 
named Sullivan. With these outlaws the Mounted Police 
had many a tussle. One of them, Morris Connell, was shot 
down by Corporal Brown ; of the others four were executed 
and three transported to Norfolk Island for life. The next 
few years saw some minor affairs, and then, in 1830, came 
an organised outbreak on a rather unusual scale. A party 
of assigned convict servants on a farm at Evernden, near 
Bathurst, rose against their master, stole a quantity of arms 
and ammunition, and made a round of other farms in the 
neighbourhood in order to gain recruits. Ere long their 
numbers had swelled to nearly a hundred, but when the 
authorities had been apprised of the rising and began to take 
the field the new bushranging corps had dwindled to twenty. 
Many who had been forced to join thought better of their 
decision, and those who desired to fall out were not hindered. 

The mere score left under Sullivan's leadership consisted 
of the most determined and dangerous criminals. To com- 
bat this band, who already had several robberies and one 
brutal, unprovoked murder to their account, a body of volun- 
teers was raised by a Mr. William Suttor, a prominent settler. 
By means of native assistance the bushrangers were tracked 


to their haunt, but the position proved to be too strong, 
and the attacking party was forced to fall back. A number 
of mounted police under Lieutenant Brown, of Bathurst, 
similarly failed to'dislodge them. A day or so later a detach- 
ment of police was brought from Goulburn by Lieutenant 
Macalister and a brisk engagement ensued. The convicts, 
well aware what fate awaited them on capture, were re- 
solved to sell their lives dearly. They had obtained ex- 
ceptionally good cover and from their vantage kept up a 
deadly fire. Macalister himself, it is stated, was struck in the 
arm, causing him to drop to the ground ; but the lieu- 
tenant was not hors de combat yet, for using his wounded arm 
as a rest for his musket he fired in return and succeeded in 
hitting the leader of the bushrangers. 

Despite the bravery of the mounted police it was found 
necessary to enlist the services of the military before the gang 
could be routed. Then, with a flanking movement, police 
and soldiers swept them from their position and all were 
captured. Ten public executions followed, these taking 
place at Bathurst. Others of the convicts received varying 
sentences of imprisonment. 

The year 1830 which witnessed so sensational an out- 
break is also notable for the passing of the " Bushrangers 
Act " (2 George IV, No. 10), which gave considerably 
enlarged powers to constables for the apprehension of sus- 
pected persons. 1 This important measure no doubt did 
much to lessen the evil at which it was aimed, but it was 
often the cause of wrongful imprisonment. With so many 
immigrants arriving in the colony, men fresh to the con- 
ditions of the new life, there was bound to be frequent mis- 
understanding. Old settlers have placed on record many 
1 See Appendix C. 


instances in which young fellows who were genuine " new 
chums " were arrested by too-zealous constables and held 
for identification. One such may be quoted from a volume 
of reminiscences entitled Settlers and Convicts. Says the 
writer : " In travelling through the upper part of the Hunter 
I stopped a few days at one of the principal farms. 
During dinner the first day, the farm-constable arrested a 
traveller on suspicion of being a bushranger, and put him in 
confinement in a private lock-up, built on the farm. The man 
was kept there several days before any magistrate sat at the 
adjacent court to hear cases ; and it then turned out that 
the man some years before had worked for that gentleman, 
who recognised him and discharged him. The poor fellow 
said he had come free to the colony twelve or thirteen years 
before, and was generally arrested twice every year under 
the Bushrangers Act. He had made application in one 
quarter and another for some protective document, till he was 
quite tired and had quite given it up. He had now made 
up his mind to it, and it did not affect him as it did at first. 
He slept the time away as well as he could, and was all the 
readier for work when he got out." 

A native once informed the same writer that he had some 
time before passed seven weeks out of three months marching 
in handcuffs under the Bushrangers Act. Having been 
born in the colony he had no protective document whatever. 
Some busy farm -constable arrested him on suspicion of being 
a bushranger at one of the farthest stations at Hunter's 
River, where he was looking for work. After being taken in 
handcuffs to Sydney, over two hundred miles away, and dis- 
charged, he went to the Murrumbidgee on the same errand, 
where he was again arrested and forwarded in handcuffs 
to headquarters under the same law. 

-6 9 - 


The " farm-constables " referred to were actually prisoners 
of the Crown who were still serving their sentences, and 
were appointed to act in this special capacity as guards 
over the other assigned convict servants. It was a practical 
illustration of the old adage, " Set a thief to catch a thief." 
As any such convict-constable was sure of freedom, or, at the 
very least, of a remission of his sentence, did he succeed 
in bringing any bushranger to justice, it is easy to see how 
zeal might outrun discretion. The Mounted Police must not 
be confused with these guardians of the law, and one may 
credit them with the exercise of more judgment. At the 
same time, there is fault to be found with them on some 
points. In the handling of their prisoners they were often 
brutal beyond reason. It was customary for a trooper to 
handcuff a prisoner to his stirrup-iron and compel him to run 
with the horse at trot or gallop. This led to much ill-usage, 
and the practice was discontinued by official orders after a 
bushranger, thus fettered, was killed by a horse that ran 
away with him. 

A New South Wales outlaw of no little notoriety in the 
forties was Jackey Jackey. From this peculiar cognomen he 
has been written down by some writers as an aboriginal, but 
this is erroneous. Jackey Jackey in real life was William John 
West wood, son of a Kentish farmer in the " old country " 
and transported convict in the new. On being shipped out 
to the colony in 1837 he was assigned to a Mr. King, at 
Gidleigh, but eventually absconded and turned bushranger. 
For mate at this time he had one Paddy Curran, a scoundrel 
who was hung at Berrima in 1841. After this loss Jackey 
Jackey carried on his depredations single-handed. 

A too daring escapade landed him at last in the clutches 
of the law. The Goulburn Mounted Police were his captors 



and they placed him in the lock-up at Bargo. From this 
prison he made his escape, taking with him a gun and pistol 
with which he promptly did some " sticking up." A horse 
was soon added to his equipment, and he was next heard 
of at the Black Horse Inn, on the Goulburn Plains, but his 
career received a check, for at this hostelry he was over- 
powered by the landlord and the latter 's wife and daughter, 
aided by a convict servant. 

Jackey Jackey was now sentenced to a life term and be- 
came a " Cockatoo bird." x He attempted to escape again 
by swimming from the island, but he and several others 
who made the attempt were overtaken and brought back. 
Thereafter he was despatched to Van Diemen's Land, 
" chained to a cable in the hold of the ship " along with other 
irreclaimables, and on the voyage broke loose to head a 
futile mutiny. At Port Arthur he kept up his record by 
making two escapes from gaol, on one occasion being nine 
days in the bush ; then came his final exploit. Sent to 
Norfolk Island in 1846, he managed to organise an insur- 
rection among the convicts. 

With some four hundred at his back who had murdered 
their overseers, he led a march upon Government House. 
Fortunately there was a strong body of soldiers on the island, 
and the officers were men of courage and resource. The rebels 
had not proceeded far when they were met by a charge which 
broke up their ranks and threw them into confusion. Jackey 
Jackey 's following melted away before he could re-form them, 
and he was speedily captured. His execution, with that of 
several other principals, put an end to risings among the 
Norfolk Island convicts. 

1 A prisoner on Cockatoo Island, in the Parramatta River, N.S.W. 
Many of^the worst characters were sent thither. 

7 I - 



A new era First discoveries Count Strzlecki's reports Clarke and 
Murchison The Daisy Hill nugget Edward Hammond Hargraves 
At the Californian diggings Prospecting in the Blue Mountains 
Summerhill Creek The " rush " begins Regulations and pre- 
cautions The Mounted Police The exodus from Port Phillip A 
Gold Discovery Committee Victorian discoveries James Esmond 
Ballarat goldfields Mount Alexander Bendigo Undesirable ele- 
ments The Influx of Criminals Prevention Act Duties of the 
police Mr. William Mitchell appointed Commissioner Dodging the 
" Joeys " A typical scene Ex-Superintendent Brennan The bush- 
rangers outwitted Another story of Gardiner. 

THE opening up of the goldfields in New South Wales 
and Victoria marked a new era in the history of the 
Mounted Police. Not only was the scope of their work 
enlarged by the necessity for supervising mining camps 
and enforcing Government regulations ; the sudden extra- 
ordinary development of the diggings was responsible for 
the force being placed on an entirely different basis. The 
Lambing Flat riots and other disturbances, to which refer- 
ence has been already made, awakened the authorities to the 
fact that new conditions had arisen which demanded states- 
manlike methods. It is important, therefore, to note how 
this state of affairs was. brought about. 

The discovery of gold in New South Wales properly dates 
from the valuable finds made by Mr. Edward Hammond 

-_ 72 


Hargraves in 1851. But the existence of the precious metal 
was known long before this. Convicts while at work mak- 
ing roads through the bush had unearthed nuggets, and it is 
stated that they were compelled to keep silence on the matter 
for fear that the news might unsettle the population and 
disturb the industries of the country. In 1823 an Assistant 
Surveyor, named McBrian, whilst examining the Fish River, 
some fifteen miles east of Bathurst, noted in his field-book : 
11 At 8 chains 50 links to river and marked gum-tree, found 
numerous particles of gold in the sand and in the hills con- 
venient to the river." This evidence of a goldfield in the 
Bathurst district was confirmed later (in 1839) by Count Paul 
Strzlecki, a distinguished geologist and mineralogist. He 
found gold-bearing quartz in the Vale of Clwydd, in the Blue 
Mountains, and communicated the intelligence to the 
Government ; but, being fearful of disastrous consequences 
arising from the discovery being made known (there were 
45,000 convicts in the colonies), Sir George Cripps imposed 
secrecy upon the Count. Strzlecki accordingly omitted 
mention of the fact in the book on New South Wales which 
he subsequently published. 

From that time on, however, explorer after explorer 
brought back tidings of gold in and near the ranges. Of these 
pioneers the Rev. W. B. Clarke was undoubtedly the first to 
proclaim on true scientific grounds the " probable auriferous 
veins of Australia." Between 1842 and 1847 he found indi- 
cations of gold in several places and made public the results 
of his investigations. At the same time we find Sir Roderick 
Murchison lecturing to the Royal Geographical Society in 
London on the striking resemblance between the Blue Moun- 
tains chain in Australia and that of the Ural in Russia, the 
similarity leading him to predict the presence of gold in the 

73 ~ 


former. He even went so far as to recommend Cornish tin- 
minersjwho wanted employment to emigrate to New South 
Wales and turn gold-seekers. That gold was actually there 
was proved again at Daisy Hill, in Victoria, where one, 
Thomas Chapman, happened on a nugget weighing 16 
ounces. This was in 1849, and the lucky prospector was so 
afraid of the Government's disapproval that after selling his 
find to a Melbourne tradesman he fled to Sydney ! His fears 
were not groundless, perhaps, for Mr. Latrobe, the Super- 
intendent of Port Phillip, afterwards ^sent an officer with a 
detachment of native mounted police to that same Daisy 
Hill to prohibit any one digging for gold. 

The year 1849 witnessed the great gold-rush to Cali- 
fornia, a rush, by the way, in which hundreds of New South 
Wales colonists joined, ignorant of the wealth that lay 
untouched at their very doors. This event was of great 
importance in itself, but greater in that it provided the key 
by means of which Australia's riches were at last unlocked. 
The story of Hargraves and his discoveries is one of the 
romances of our own times. 

When news first came of the great finds in California, 
Hargraves was living quietly as a squatter a few miles out of 
Bathurst. He had done well for himself until droughts and 
floods brought disaster in their train and a great part of his 
fortune disappeared. In the four years after 1844 numbers 
of Australian farmers suffered from these calamities. It was 
in the hope of rehabilitating himself that Hargraves, like 
many others, set off for the Eldorado of the Pacific slope. 
He took ship to San Francisco and started out prospecting 
in the valley of the Sacramento. Two years were thus spent 
with varying fortune, Hargraves at the end having little cause 
for satisfaction with his change. But if California was slow 



to yield him wealth it did him one good turn. It sent his 
thoughts chasing back to the rugged gullies of the Macquarie 
in his own land. The conviction formed in his mind that 
New South Wales contained a similar gold-bearing region. 

Hargraves was no mere dreamer, he was a practical miner. 
A thorough examination of the rock strata in the Sacramento 
district made it clear to him that it was of the same formation 
as that in certain parts of New South Wales. The soil, too, 
was very similar. Once this belief in a probable Australian 
goldfield had taken hold of him, he could not shake it off. 
His mate, also from the Blue Mountains, was inclined to 
ridicule the idea, pointing out that geologists had already 
examined and reported upon those very gullies and creeks 
which he credited with hidden treasure. Why give up a sub- 
stance for a shadow ? he urged. Hargraves in return argued 
that the expeditions of Strzlecki and other geologists had 
been made purely for scientific purposes, and that it required 
men with expert mining knowledge to recognise and pro- 
perly appraise a goldfield. " That there is payable gold out 
there in the mountains," he said, "I'll stake my soul ! And 
I'm going back to find it ! " 

Hargraves went back, and alone. His mate, unconvinced, 
stuck to the Calif ornian diggings. On reaching Sydney in 
January of 1851 the returned gold-seeker raised just enough 
money to provide himself with a horse and provisions, and 
started out on a journey through the ranges. The llth of 
February found him at an inn situated on one of the nearer 
slopes. Here he stopped, the landlady promising him that 
her son should guide him to the creeks in the neighbourhood. 
The next day Hargraves was conducted to Summerhill 
Creek, where he found his expectations realised. With pick 
and trowel and washing pan he prospected a great part of 



the water-course, each trial giving palpable evidence of gold. 
He felt he was on the brink of a great discovery, as his record 
in his note-book bears witness. For many weeks after 
Hargraves devoted himself to prospecting the creeks and 
gullies all around, until he was satisfied that he had actually 
found an extensive gold-bearing region. Then, with some 
pride and exultation, he hastened to inform the Government 
of his discoveries. 

At the first Hargraves was treated as a visionary, but by 
dint of perseverance he obtained recognition from the 
Colonial Secretary, Mr. Deas Thompson, and a guarantee of 
reward if his story proved to be true. * A Government Sur- 
veyor, who was instructed to proceed to the Summerhill 
Creek district, returned an enthusiastic report, confirming 
Hargraves' assertions. The authorities were still doubtful of 
the wisdom of proclaiming a goldfield in New South Wales, 
having in their mind's eye the wild scenes that had been en- 
acted in.Calif ornia ; but they at last consented to a trial being 
made. In May a body of diggers, to the number of a thou- 
sand, went up to the field with Hargraves, and the first 
mining camp in Australia was formed. That was the begin- 
ning. In a little while news of the riches to be won from the 
mountains spread far and wide through the colony, and a wild 
rush for claims took place. 2 Men of every rank and pro- 
fession flocked to the Turon Gully, to Lewis Ponds and other 
points, to the material loss of many industries. In the towns 

1 Hargraves' reward was 500, but this was subsequently increased 
by the New South Wales and Victorian Governments to 15,000. In 1877 
he was voted a pension of 250 per annum. 

2 The sensational find of Dr. Kerr may be cited as one among many. 
A blackfellow on Kerr's station near the Turon called his master's 'atten- 
tion to some glittering rock, which was promptly broken up. From the 
quartz and gold thus released, 160 Ibs. of pure gold was obtained, the whole 
realizing 4,160. 

- 7 6- 


and among the squatters, great apprehension was felt, owing 
to the scarcity of labour, and the Government was approached 
with a view to closing the diggings. The Governor-General, 
Sir Charles Fitzroy, was man of sense enough to see that he 
might as well endeavour " to stop the influx of the tide." 
He wisely directed his attention to controlling the goldfields, 
and drawing up regulations for their proper establishment. 

The first step to be taken was to proclaim that gold was 
the property of the Crown and that licences must be procured 
by miners. 1 In the next place a body of foot and mounted 
police was detached for duty in the new fields. On 
23rd May, 1851, a Government Order appeared, comprising 
clauses to the following effect : Digging was prohibited 
after 1st June, without a licence ; " For the present, and 
pending further proof of the extent of the goldfield," the 
licence fee was to be fixed at thirty shillings per month ; 
no person should be eligible to dig for gold unless he could 
produce a certificate of discharge, or prove to the satisfaction 
of the Commissioner that he was not a person improperly 
absent from hired service ; rules adjusting extent and posi- 

1 The form of the licence, which varied slightly in wording from time 
to time, was as follows : 


No 185.... 

The bearer having paid me the sum of on account 

of the territorial revenue, I hereby license him to dig, search for, and re- 
move gold on and from any such lands within the as I shall 

assign to him for that purpose during the month of 185...., not 

within half a mile of any head station. 

This licence is not transferable, and must be produced whenever de- 
manded by me or any other person acting under the authority of the 

(Signed) A. B. 


This licence is to be carried on the person, to be produced whenever 
demanded by any Commissioner, Peace Officer, or other duly authorised 
person, and is not transferable. 



tion of land to be covered by each licence, and for the pre- 
vention of confusion, should be the subject of early regulation. 
It was provided by Mr. Deas Thompson that the revenue 
arising from the issue of licences should be placed at the dis- 
posal of the Colonial Government to meet the extraordinary 
expenditure incurred by this new development. 

That a corps of mounted police could be formed and 
kept up to the required strength for service on the goldfields 
may well be wondered at in the light of the poor pay offered 
and the tempting inducements to desert. At the Turon, in 
1851, a sergeant received (with provisions) 3s. 9d. per day, 
and a trooper 3s. 3d. It speaks highly for the character of 
the men that they remained loyal to their oath with very 
few exceptions. While people of all professions and trades 
were deserting jtheir employment in towns, and sailors were 
running away from their vessels in harbour, to pick up ready- 
madejfortunes on the goldfields, the police sat tight. Many 
of them, it should be said, were old hands, troopers who had 
served the Queen in line regiments previous to joining the 
mounted police of the colony. In this fine material the 
authorities had a force far superior to the Mounted Border 
Police, which had been formed in the squatting districts 
and since disbanded. Less care had been taken in the com- 
position of the latter body. 

Owing to the Colonial Secretary's care in drafting a scheme 
for the working of the fields, comparatively little difficulty 
was experienced from the outset. The precautions for 
keeping order, too, were rendered easier by the nature of the 
population. The majority of the miners were of the genuine 
kind, colonial born, and amenable to discipline. As they were 
scattered broadcast over several hundreds of miles along 
the main range they were better placed for police supervision 

- 7 8- 


than if they had been compressed into one small area. But 
one disorder of any magnitude occurred. This was on the 
Turon goldfield, where a large number of diggers refused 
to pay the licence fee. Four hundred or more of them armed 
in readiness to resist the authorities by force, but on a 
strong body of mounted police and soldiers being dispatched 
to the scene the rioters lost heart and no further opposition 
was encountered. 

The discovery of gold in Victoria followed close upon that 
in the sister colony. So many hundreds of men had deserted 
the Port Phillip district for the diggings, and depleted it of 
population at a critical period in its history, 1 that it was felt 
incumbent to provide a counter-attraction. At a public 
meeting held in Melbourne in 1851 a " Gold Discovery 
Committee " was formed to encourage search for payable 
goldfields within the State boundaries. A reward of 200 
was offered to the first who discovered a field within a couple 
of hundred miles of Melbourne. 

Gold-seekers were quick to set to work. The precious 
metal had been found already in some places, at Smythesdale 
in 1849, at Clunes in the following year, and in the Pyrenees 
by Dr. Bruhn, a German mineralogist. A discovery that 
made some stir was that of James Esmond, a one-time driver 
of the mail-coach between Buninyong and Horsham, in the 
vicinity of Ballarat. Like Hargraves, Esmond had tried his 
luck at the Calif ornian diggings and, meeting with no success, 
had returned home in the same ship as the New South Wales 
man. To obtain a living he became a bushman on a station 
in the Pyrenees, where he chanced, one day, to meet Dr. 
Bruhn. The latter talked so glowingly of the prospects of 

1 The separation of Port Phillip from New South Wales, and its procla- 
mation as the colony of Victoria, was on the point of accomplishment. 



gold-finding in that district that Esmond and a companion 
who shared his hut determined to go a-venturing. What 
clinched the matter was the sight of some quartz specimens 
which the Doctor exhibited. 

The two men " struck rich " at their first attempt. Deep 
Creek, a small stream running into the Loddon River, yielded 
gold in good quantities, and early in July a little band of 
diggers were hard at work with him developing the find. 
Esmond's discovery, however, proved to be an alluvial de- 
posit which in time became exhausted. This brought disap- 
pointment, but in the meantime other prospectors had been 
busy, and iiew fields were being opened up. Gold was found 
near the Yarra River, only a few miles from Melbourne. 
More important still, it was reported from Buninyong, where a 
Mr. Hiscock had some remarkable specimens to show. After 
Buninyong came the revelation of the Golden Point and 
Specimen Gully finds, these leading immediately to the open- 
ing of the Ballarat goldfields. 

The hidden riches of Victoria were laid bare at last. No 
more did the eager gold-seekers betake themselves over the 
border into New South Wales ; there were more alluring 
opportunities for wealth close at hand. Ballarat received its 
" rush " in August of 1851. In the following month, so 
quickly did events move, Mount Alexander leapt into notor- 
iety, and three weeks later the golden harvest of Bendigo was 
announced, a harvest which was to eclipse all others in 

Within a brief period the new goldfields were literally 
swarming with people. Diggers to the number of eighty 
thousand spread themselves over Ballarat, Mount Alexander 
and Bendigo, bringing with them many elements which, 
unfortunately, did not promise well for the future. Of the 




65,000 immigrants who landed in Melbourne during the 
first year of the gold-rush a large proportion were undesirables 
ex-convicts from Van Diemen's Land (soon to be known as 
Tasmania) ; adventurers of all nations, ripe for any chance to 
batten on the profits of others ; and the rag-tag-and-bob- 
tail of the Western American diggings. It was a motley crowd, 
and the Victorian Government had good reason to view it with 
apprehension. As a safeguard against an illimitable inrush 
of ex-convicts an " Influx of Criminals Prevention Act " 
was hastily passed in 1852. By this measure everyone 
coming into the state from Van Diemen's Land was required 
to prove that he was not a convict of less than three years' 
freedom, otherwise he was refused permission to land. A 
heavy fine was the penalty for any ship's captain who 
brought over a convict to any Victorian port. But this pre- 
cautionary legislation was somewhat late in the day. Too 
many of the scourings of Van Diemen's Land had already 
crossed the narrow straits. 

To enforce the mining laws based on those formulated by 
Mr. Deas Thompson in New South Wales Mr. Latrobe, 
now Lieutenant-Governor, had but a small body of native 
mounted police at his command. The duties of the black 
troopers, or " Joes," 1 as they were commonly called, were 
by no means light. In addition to ordinary police work, the 
maintenance of law and order in a mixed community, they 
had to constantly patrol the diggings and inspect mining 
licences, always a difficult and unpopular task. Many of the 
miners tried to evade what they considered to be an impo- 
sition and an annoyance, while others, for various reasons 
of ineligibility, had been unable to obtain licences. One 

1 This cant term for the police owes its origin to the fact that official 
mandates were signed " Joseph Charles Latrobe." 

8l G 


source of irritation was the insertion of a clause in the licence 
enjoining Sunday observance on the fields. 

To provide a more efficient force of police for the gold- 
fields Mr. Latrobe appointed Mr. (afterwards Sir) William 
Mitchell to the Chief Commissionership. This officer was 
successful to a great degree, and was the initiator of the cadet 
system, to which reference will be made later. At this 
period, 1852, there were two constabulary forces in Victoria, 
the County of Bourke Police (under that Captain Sturt who 
tracked down the Nelson goldship pirates), and the native 
Goldfields Police (under Captain Mair). It was Mitchell's 
proposal to combine these bodies into one, and this was in 
due course carried out. 

The first open opposition to the licence fee was made at 
Golden Point towards the end of 1852, when the Govern- 
ment had announced that free digging would be permitted 
for the month of September. The object in view was the 
encouragement of what was then a new field. On the Gold 
Commissioners proceeding to these claims, however, they 
gathered that the yield had been an exceedingly rich one, and, 
wisely or unwisely, they attempted to levy a licence fee of 
fifteen shillings, half the customary amount. A storm 
of indignation at once broke out. With a man named 
Swindells as leader, the miners refused to comply with the 
demand. Violent meetings were held, one digger who had 
paid the tax was roughly treated, and for a time it looked as 
if a riot would follow. Happily, better counsels prevailed, 
and eventually the Government had its way. 

An entertaining description of this tax-collecting at Bal- 
larat is given by the author of Life in Victoria, who himself 
figured in many such scenes. He says : 

" W shouted down, * Come up, boys come along 



quick ; the game is started ! ' And as I was being hoisted 
up I heard the swelling uproar and the loud chorus of * Joes ' 
from every side. As I gained the surface everybody was in 
commotion diggers with their licences lowering down their 
mates without them ; some, with folded arms, cursing the 
system and damning the Government ; others stealing away 
like hares when hounds are in the neighbourhood. Several 
' tally-ho'd/ bursting from points where they could escape 
arrest, while * Joe ! Joe ! Joe ! Joe ! Joe ! Joe ! ' resounded 
on all sides ; jj the half-clad Amazons running up the hill 
slopes, like so many bearers of the ' fiery cross/ to spread 
to the neighbouring gullies the commencement of the police 
foray. The police, acting on a preconcerted plan of attack, 
kept closing in upon their prey : the mounted portion, under 
the commander-in-chief, occupying commanding positions 
on the elevated ranges to intercept escape or retreat. A 
strong body of the foot force, fully armed, swept down the 
gully in extended line, attended by a corps of light infantry 
' traps ' in loose attire, like greyhounds in the slip, ready to 
rush from the leash as the quarry started. But the orders of 
the officers could not be heard from the loud and continuous 
roars of * Joe ! Joe ! Joe ! ' * Curse the Government ! 
the beaks, the traps, Commissioners, and all ' ' the 
robbers,' 'the bushrangers/ and every vile epithet that 
could be remembered, almost into their ears. 

" At length the excitement got perfectly wild as a smart 
fellow, closely pursued, took a line of the gully cut up with 
yawning holes, from which the cross planks had been 
purposely removed ; every extraordinary spring just carry- 
ing him beyond the grasp of capture, his tracks being filled 
the instant he left them, and the outstretched arm of the 
police within an inch of seizure in the following leap. I 

- 83 - *>.' 



myself was strangely inoculated with the nervous quiver of 
excitement, and I think I gave an involuntary cheer as the 
game and mettle of the digger began to tell. But there 
arose a terrific menacing outcry of ' Shame ! shame ! 
treachery ! meanness ! ' which a glance in the direction of 
the general gaze showed me was caused by a charge of the 
mounted men on the high ground to head back the poor 
fugitive. I really thought a conflict would have ensued, 
for there was a mad rush to the point where the collision 
was likely to take place, and fierce vows of vengeance 
registered by many a stalwart fellow who bounded past me 
to join in the fray. A moment after the mounted men 
wheeled at a sharp angle, and a fresh shout arose as another 
smart young fellow flew before them with almost super- 
natural fleetness, like a fresh hare started as the hunted one 
was on the point of being run down. I marvelled to see 
him keep the unbroken ground, with the gully at his side 
impracticable for cavalry ; but no, he made straight on for 
a bunch of tents with a speed I never saw equalled by a 
pedestrian. It was even betting, too, that he would have 
reached the screen first, when lo ! he stopped short so sud- 
denly as only just to escape being ridden down by the Com- 
missioner the Cardigan of the charge who seized him by 
the shirt collar in passing. 

" The rush of diggers now became diverted to the scene of 
capture. I hurried forward there, too, although fearing I 
should witness the shedding of blood and the sacrifice of 
human life. But as I approached I was agreeably disap- 
pointed at hearing loud roars of laughter and jeering out- 
bursts of ' Joe ! Joe ! ' amidst which the crowd opened out a 
passage for the crestfallen heroes, who rode away under such 
a salute of opprobrious epithets as I never heard before, for 

-8 4 - 


the young fellow who led them the idle chase stopped short 
the moment he saw the real fugitive was safe, coolly inquir- 
ing of his captor ' What crime he was guilty of, to be hunted 
like a felon ? ' ' Your licence, you scoundrel ! ' was the 
curt reply. Upon which he put his hand in his pocket and 
pulled Out the document, to the ineffable disgust of the 
police, who in grasping at the shadow had lost the substance." 

The merry game of " Joe-dodging " had several varia- 
tions. Sometimes the police would be lured below ground, 
whence they rarely emerged without having had to crawl 
through wet, muddy " drives," to the serious detriment of 
their clothes and persons. But that is only one side of the 
shield. Often enough the constables were successful in 
running down the non-licence holders, and had the satis- 
faction of marching off their prisoners for judgment. The 
usual fine, when a genuine digger was concerned, amounted 
to 5 ; in other cases terms of imprisonment were imposed. 

More serious work awaited the mounted police when, as 
was frequently the case, acts of bushranging were reported. 
The gold escorts which left the fields en route for Melbourne 
offered strong temptations to the lawless element. Such a 
train would carry many thousands of ounces of gold, for the 
protection of which, often enough, only a handful of troopers 
could be spared. In dealing with Gardiner and other 
notorious raiders in a later chapter some account of notable 
gold-train " stick-ups " will be given. An instance of an 
attempt that failed in this connection occurs to us, and as 
the redoubtable Gardiner figures in it the story is worth 
telling. Our informant is Ex-Superintendent Martin Bren- 
nan, of the New South Wales Police, an officer who began 
his service in the old days of the Southern Patrol, under 
Captain Zouch. 



" When I was a trooper," he said to the writer, " I was 
three years doing gold escort duty on the goldfields. On one 
occasion I formed one of a party of four men in charge of a 
consignment of specie and gold dust that totalled nearly 
4,000 oz. We were detailed to convoy it from the Braid- 
wood fields to Goulburn, about sixty miles distant. When 
we started the order was as follows : I rode in front as ad- 
vance guard, then came a trooper leading the pack-horse 
laden with the gold, a third trooper rode alongside with a 
whip, and behind was Corporal Stafford, who was in charge. 
All of us were armed. We had been told to be exceptionally 
wary, as Gardiner, the bushranger, was known to be in the 
neighbourhood. He had stuck up one or two banks some 
days previously. 

" The main road that we followed led through the town- 
ship of Tarago, at which place there was a hotel. Here we 
intended to make a brief halt for refreshment and rest, and 
here HrwaB i that any attack contemplated would be made. 
Gardiner, I may say, was born near this part and was well 
acquainted with the road. As some precaution against 
surprise, therefore, we started out on our journey a full hour 
earlier than had been arranged. As a still further precaution 
I suggested to Stafford that we should take a short cut to 
Tarago by way of Lake Bathurst. He agreed, and I accord- 
ingly turned off sharp from the road at a certain point and 
struck into the bush. 

" All the time, you may be sure, I kept my eyes wide 
open, but when, on nearing the lake, I saw a couple of men 
bathing I felt no cause for alarm. To my astonishment, 
however, the two no sooner caught sight of the police riding 
towards them than they promptly rushed from the water, 
seized their clothes and, nude as they were, jumped on their 



horses, which were tethered close by. They rode off at full 
gallop. I spurred after them immediately, for I had recog- 
nised one of the men as Gardiner, and fired off my pistol. 
This weapon was a clumsy one of an old type and, I remem- 
ber, made a noise like the report of a cannon ! Then Stafford 
called to me to come back, and I gave up the chase. 

" On the lake bank we found a pair of riding boots and 
a mackintosh, both of which articles belonged to Gardiner. 
These we appropriated before continuing our march. At 
Tarago we met two other mounted constables, and, without 
making our intended halt, exchanged our horses for their 
fresher ones in order to push on to Goulburn. We had not 
left the station at Tarago very long before six bushrangers, 
headed by Gardiner, arrived on the scene to bail up our 
escort. But for once in his life, at least, our worthy friend 
was disappointed. We made good progress to Goulburn 
and so escaped his clutches ! " 

Of Corporal Stafford and Gardiner there is another 
story told which throws an interesting sidelight on the bush- 
ranger's character. The police officer had known Gardiner 
before the latter took to evil ways, and always entertained 
some regard for him. Even as a trooper he was inclined to 
stand up for the other, declaring that he was not so black as 
he was painted. One day Stafford was in charge of a gold 
escort when he was suddenly ordered to bail up. A party of 
armed bushrangers had leapt out upon the police, who were 
three in number, from a well-chosen ambush. 

At the summons Stafford rode forward, and recognising 
Gardiner among the rest, called out, " Hallo, Frank ! Is 
that you ? " 

" Hallo, Stafford ! " was the response ; " so you're 
here ! " 



There was a quick interchange of friendly salutations, a 
grasp of the hand, and then the bushranger drew his men to 
one side. 

" You can go on, old man," he said, " all's well." 

Gardiner shortly afterwards rode in the direction of 
Stafford's house, and stopped to tell Mrs. Stafford of tlie 

" If your husband hadn't been in charge of the gold," he 
remarked grimly, " there'd have been some black business ! " 




en ' 


O * 
O p-f 




The Nelson gold-ship robbery Mounted Police in pursuit Attacks on 
the Government Capture of the pirates Transportation to Van 
Diemen's Land abolished Turbulence on the goldfields Mail-coach 
robberies The licence fee agitation Proposed increase of tax 
More misunderstandings A police blunder Riot at Forest Creek 
Bendigo the centre of disaffection Resignation of Mr. Latrobe Sir 
Charles Hotham. 'Governor " Digger-hunting " and other grievances 
The Eureka Hotel murder Ballarat in ferment Obduracy of the 
authorities The call to arms Peter Lalor The Eureka stockade 
Concessions by the Government Constitutional changes. 

HOW serious was the menace of the escapee or ticket-of- 
leave man who made his way by hook or by crook into 
Victoria from Van Diemen's Land was evidenced early in 
1852. Robberies, acts of bushranging and other exciting 
episodes by that time had become of alarming frequency ; 
the newspapers chronicled them every day ; but all these 
incidents were suddenly eclipsed by an act of unparalleled 
daring, an act that recalls remembrances of buccaneering on 
the Spanish Main. As reported in the Melbourne Argus of 
April 3rd the particulars are as follows 

Lying off the lighthouse at Williamstown, in a part of 
Port Phillip Harbour known as Hobson's Bay, was a gold- 
ship. This vessel, the Nelson, had just come in from Geelong 
with 24,000 worth of gold, and was shortly to leave for 
London. With such a valuable freight it might have been 


expected that a proper watch would have been kept, but 
this was not the case. In the early morning of the 2nd a 
party of twenty-two masked men (other accounts say 
sixteen) put off from the beach at Sandridge in two boats, 
and with muffled oars rowed to the ship's side. There was 
no one on deck to hail them or give any alarm ; the pirates 
clambered on board unseen and took possession. 

Two sailors and a boy who were found in the forecastle 
were easily secured. The rest of the Nelson's crew five 
in all with the chief officer, Mr. Draper, were surprised in 
their bunks. Each one of the robbers was fully armed, and 
resistance was useless in the circumstances, though the chief 
officer pluckily showed fight. In a few minutes the vessel 
was at the mercy of the gang. Having seen to the safe 
disposal of their prisoners, the men proceeded at once to the 
lazarette, where the treasure was stowed, and carried the 
boxes to their boats. Then they led Mr. Draper and the 
ship's hands to the plundered store-room, locked them in, 
and decamped. 

Immediately the pirates had quitted the vessel's side a 
seaman, who had evaded capture by finding a sure hiding- 
place, liberated the prisoners. The chief officer at once 
rowed to shore to give the alarm, and the Water Police were 
soon at work searching for the thieves. In the darkness 
not much could be done, but when daylight broke a boat 
stranded on the beach near St. Kilda showed where the 
rascals had landed. On the sand were the wheel-tracks of 
the cart which had carried off the booty. The second boat 
was found later on at Williamstown. 

On the strength of this information Captain Sturt, of the 
Melbourne force, set off with a body of mounted police to 
scour the country, but for several days no traces of the men 

90 - 

THE RUSH FOR GOLD, 1852-1855 

could be found. For the better conveyance of the gold the 
boxes had been discarded, these being picked up, empty, on 
the beach. In the absence of other clues the police were hard 
put to it to unearth the robbers, and their non-success gave 
the Melbourne press opportunity for railing at the Govern- 
ment's inability to protect life and property. 

" That twenty- two men, evidently all sworn to secrecy," 
said a leader-writer in the Argus, " could meet and plan such 
a daring robbery among so limited a population as that of 
Melbourne, without exciting a suspicion among the police, 
is strange. Granting, however, that the cunning of the 
rascals evaded all suspicion, what is to be thought of the 
efficient police force that could not perceive any symptoms 
of such a deed while it was being executed ? Is there a 
police force ? And what are its duties if bands of robbers 
can plunder in this fashion ? Again, these men were armed 
to the teeth. It is shrewdly suspected that they intended 
to attack the Admiral, a gold-ship which sailed yesterday 
afternoon a fact which they probably did not know. It 
is perfectly clear that they were prepared to perpetrate any 
amount of violence, and to hazard their lives in the accom- 
plishment of their project." 

In a later issue of the paper a correspondent fulminated 
against the authorities in these terms : " We have no 
Government. That is a fact, as clear as noonday. What 
represents the Government is an imaginary will-o'-the 
wisp ; a band of creatures like men, but actuated only by 
the spirits of decayed old women. There is no safety for 
individuals in their properties on land or water ; day after 
day numbers of robberies are recorded ; people are found 
dead in the street, in houses, or on the roads . . . some- 
thing must immediately be done to render life and property 



safe, otherwise the thief and murderer will usurp the func- 
tions of the judge and magistrate ; crime of the most degrad- 
ing and abominable kind will reign supreme, and Victoria, 
the finest of the colonies, will be converted into a terrestrial 
hell ! " 

Newspaper tirades do not always voice public sentiment. 
That Melbourne people generally were incensed at such a 
crime being perpetrated in their midst was natural, but the 
difficulties encountered by the police did not go unrecognised. 
Nor were the " old women " of the Government asleep, as 
some supposed, while the much-abused police were working 
surely if quietly towards their end. Within a week the 
principals of the Nelson pirates had been laid by the heels. 
Four men in all were arrested, one being on the point of 
sailing for 'Sydney, the three others being located at a 
Williamstown inn. They were duly placed on trial and were 
sentenced to twenty years' imprisonment. 

One important outcome of this sensational affair was its 
effect on the question of transportation. The Order in 
Council of 1840, which had freed New South Wales and, 
inclusively, Victoria from the plague of convict shipments, 
had left Van Diemen's Land and Norfolk Island as the sole 
two penal settlements in Australia. To the former of these 
went the bulk of transported felons. In the few years 
between 1842 and 1846 the number received totalled 19,000. 
By the year 1851, when Victorians had cause to look askance 
on Van Diemen's Land immigrants, half of the island's 
population were either convicts or ex-convicts who had 
gained freedom. 

In Victoria public feeling was now fully aroused on this 
vital question. Anti-Transportation Leagues were formed, 
mass meetings were held in Melbourne and other centres, 

THE RUSH FOR GOLD, 1852-1855 

and resolutions were passed calling on the Imperial Govern- 
ment to cease deporting prisoners to Van Diemen's Land, 
or Tasmania. At home Earl Grey, the Colonial Secretary, 
was slow to realise how united were the colonists on this 
point. But the insistent petitions of Victorians and 
Tasmanians at length won the day. Transportation to 
Tasmania ceased on February 10th, 1853. 

In the meantime the development of the goldfields was 
proceeding apace. In New South Wales the mining camps 
were being conducted in a fairly orderly manner ; in Victoria 
less settled conditions prevailed. At Bendigo, Eagle-hawk 
Creek, and other places, there was considerable turbulence, 
to which the grog-shanty and the dance-hall contributed 
their quota. The Mounted Police, including the black 
troopers, already referred to in the specially raised corps 
of Gold Police, under Captain Mair, endeavoured to cope 
with the situation to the best of their ability, but the few- 
ness of their numbers made the task an almost impossible 
one. More police were drafted into the colony from Tas- 
mania and from England, the Lieutenant-Governor having 
no military upon which to draw. The ever-shifting and 
constantly increasing population of the diggings, however, 
at times baffled the authorities. 

In these early days of the goldfields there was an addi- 
tional attraction to the bushranger in the mail-coaches which 
ran between the diggings and the towns. Often the vehicles 
contained passengers who carried with them large quantities 
of gold in the shape of nuggets or dust, usually destined for 
the bank. Both in New South Wales and Victoria cases of 
" sticking up " mail-coaches came to be frequent, and the 
mounted police patrols had instructions to be particularly 
alert in looking out for these gentlemen of the road. In 



November 1853, we find the following proclamation issued 
from the Colonial Secretary's Office in Sydney : 

"Whereas it has been represented to the Government 
that the mails on certain roads have been repeatedly robbed, 
and it is considered expedient to establish a fixed scale of 
Rewards, applying to all cases of Mail Robberies : His Ex- 
cellency the Governor-General directs it to be notified that 
for such information, within six calendar months after the 
commission of the offence, as shall lead to the apprehension 
and conviction of those implicated, a Reward of Twenty 
Pounds will be paid in each case of mail robbery unattended 
by violence, and a Reward of Fifty Pounds in each case in 
which the guilty parties have been armed and have used 
violence, and that in addition to the above Rewards, re- 
spectively, application will be made to Her Majesty for the 
allowance of a Conditional Pardon to the person giving the 
information, if a prisoner of the Crown." 

" By His Excellency's Command. 


On the Victorian goldfields the monthly licence fee 
formed the principal bone of contention between miners and 
Government. It was regarded as a severe tax by the major- 
ity, especially as it was extended to every individual who 
resided on a goldfield, whether digger or store-keeper, and 
the methods employed for its collection only served to 
heighten opposition. In the execution of their duty the 
police were often provoked into taking harsh measures. 
Digger hunts had their tragic as well as their humorous side, 
and if tents were burnt down and men too roughly handled 
an outburst of indignation and protest was only to be ex- 
pected. A sight too frequently seen, and one that caused 


THE RUSH FOR GOLD, 1852-1855 

much resentment, was that of handcuffed miners chained 
to trees pending their examination for the non-production 
of licences. As there were no lock-ups on the diggings, the 
police were obliged to have recourse to this rough method. 
Several prisoners could be secured by their " darbies " to 
one chain at a time. Afterwards an attempt was made to 
fit up temporary cells of corrugated iron, but these " Dutch 
ovens " or " sardine boxes," as they were variously termed 
became unbearable in the heat of summer nights. The chain 
was often welcomed as a relief. 

As if there were not already sufficient irritation on this 
score, Governor Latrobe's executive council now proposed 
to increase the licence fee to 3, double the original amount. 
The cost of collection so far had exceeded the value of the 
revenue thus obtained, 1 and the proved richness of the mines 
seemed to warrant a larger return. It was fondly hoped, 
also, that many of the less fortunate diggers would become 
discouraged and would make their way back to the settle- 
ments, which were practically denuded of labour. The 
paucity of workers, indeed, in the towns, on the farms, and 
stock stations, was so serious that prices had risen to a 
ruinous height. With rash haste the Government promul- 
gated the new order, the official Gazette of December, 1851, 
announcing that from the commencement of the following 
year the increased fee of 3 would be imposed. 

Victorians who remember those early days will easily 
recall to mind the storm of protest that immediately uprose. 
The miners were unanimous in denouncing this fresh im- 
position and in their determination to resist it by force if 

1 In 1853, replying to a deputation of Bendigo and Castlemaine miners* 
Governor Latrobe stated that up to that time the cost of administering the 
goldfields had amounted to 600,000, the revenue from licence fees and 
gold export duty having been little more than 460,000. 



necessary. At meeting after meeting inflammatory speeches 
were delivered, until the gravity of the situation was brought 
home to the Council. Within two or three weeks the 
Government wavered and was lost. The objectionable 
notice was cancelled, and the agitation for the time subsided. 

Early in 1852 a new cloud appeared on the horizon. 
Acting in concert with the Colonial Office in London, the 
Governor put forward a proposal that in lieu of the obnoxious 
licence fee an export duty on gold should be substituted, 
a merely nominal fee being exacted to ensure the proper 
registration of qualified miners. This not only seemed to 
offer a fairer form of taxation, but possessed the advantage 
of simplifying the work of collection. All such royalties 
would be dealt with in Melbourne, thus obviating the inces- 
sant friction with the police. Latrobe's idea had its merits, 
but the miners were not in a state of mind to listen even to 
any modification of the present system. There is no doubt 
that much misrepresentation of the proposal was made, for 
in most places it was understood that the Government was 
seeking to still further bleed the digger. 

Signs of disaffection manifested themselves in the 
following year. In January unpleasantness occurred on 
the Ovens goldfield, where in a fracas an unlicensed miner 
was shot dead and an Assistant Gold Commissioner received 
some rough usage at the hands of the mob. Four months 
later there was a more serious outbreak at Forest Creek, 
near Castlemaine. A police sub-inspector who was engaged 
in raiding shanteys that were suspected of illicitly selling 
spirits blundered badly. He attempted to arrest an innocent 
man, burnt his tent, destroyed the stores of two other people 
implicated, and thereby raised a hornets' nest. The com- 
rades of the injured store-keeper rallied round him in large 

- 9 6- 

THE RUSH FOR GOLD, 1852-1855 

numbers. After a " roll up " meeting notices were displayed 
on trees and huts around the field : " Down with the trooper, 
Christian, and shoot him. Down with oppression ! " 
" Diggers, avenge your wrongs." " Down with the police 
camp. Up with Christian. Cry ' no quarter/ and show no 
mercy ! " Only the presence of a considerable body of 
police prevented the disorder developing into a riot. This 
and other vexatious incidents helped to swell the storm of 
discontent. More miners' meetings were held, and deputa- 
tions waited on Mr. Latrobe to insist on the lowering of the 
licence fee. It was to be reduced to 10s. a month, they said, 
with the option of quarterly payments if desired, and the 
practice of collecting by means of an armed force was to be 
discontinued. Furthermore, the miners asked for proper- 
representation in the legislature. 

This last demand was not unreasonable. In the few years 
since the opening of the goldfields the mining population 
had undergone a distinct change. Whereas at first men had 
come and gone, mere birds of passage taking their pick of 
the gold here and there, thousands were now following gold- 
digging as a settled and permanent occupation. 1 It was this 
class which was clamorous for reform and for due recog- 
nition of its political and social rights. 

Events now began to move rapidly. Ballarat, which 
hitherto had not taken any prominent part in the agitation, 
evinced its sympathy with its comrades at Bendigo. It was 
to be a common cause on all the fields. At the end of August 
1853, the Gold and Police Commissioners at Bendigo were 
so startled by a popular demonstration that they sent urgent 

1 How vast Victoria's gold yield was becoming will be understood from 
the official returns. In 1851 the output was 145,137 oz. (580,548) ; in 
1853 it had risen to 3,150,021 oz. (12,600,084). 

97 H 


messages to Melbourne advising the reduction, and even the 
abolition, of the licence fee. In the face of this Latrobe and 
his councillors surrendered. They had a strong force of 
soldiers and police at command, a regiment having arrived 
from England, 1 but they wisely forebore to precipitate a 
conflict. The licence was therefore allowed to stand at 
106-. per month, modifications were made in the conditions 
under which it was issued, and also in the collection of the 
fees, and with these concessions gained the miners abandoned 
open hostility. 

The following year saw a new Governor in the person 
of Sir Charles Hotham, a distinguished naval officer. Mr. 
Latrobe had resigned the post to return to England. With 
a' view to more closely examining the position of affairs, Sir 
Charles paid a visit to the goldfields, and by his diplomatic 
speeches very favourably impressed the diggers. For one 
thing, he recognised the fact that the franchise must inevit- 
ably be granted, and he held this out as an inducement to 
future orderliness. Promises, however, were not everything. 
The miners by this time knew that they were powerful enough 
in their organisation to enforce the reforms on which they 
insisted, but meanwhile the " digger-hunting " annoyance 
on the part of the police had not altogether abated. So 
many men were known to be working on their claims without 
licences that the Gold Commissioner was ordered to be still 
more zealous in his efforts to rectify the abuse. This he 
proceeded to do, with much consequent trouble. There was 
additional dissatisfaction arising from the prohibition of 
liquor-selling on the goldfields, and from the presence of 

1 AtBendigo alone there were 154 soldiers and 171 police. By an Act 
to regulate the police force, passed in January 1853, the constabulary on 
the fields were much increased. 



Chinese diggers, with whom the Government sided. The 
cumulative effect of these pin-pricks was soon to be felt. 
Unexpectedly, an event occurred which suddenly set the 
goldfields aflame with rebellion, and made the name of 
Eureka historic in Australian annals. 

What happened was in itself a trifling affair, trifling, that 
is, in the eyes of a mining community. A digger named 
James Scobie called at the Eureka Hotel, Ballarat, one 
October night after hours and asked for drink. He was 
refused. An altercation ensued, the result being that at 
daylight Scobie was found lying dead outside the house, his 
head evidently having been split open by a spade. Bentley, 
the hotel proprietor and a Tasmanian ex-convict, was 
suspected of the murder, and he, his wife and another ex- 
convict named Farrell, were arrested, but the trial proved 
abortive. The local bench acquitted the accused in the face 
of what was considered to be damning evidence. Instantly 
Scobie 's friends roused the miners of Ballarat to action. The 
Eureka Hotel was assailed, wrecked and then burnt to the 
ground, while its inmates only escaped with their lives 
through the intervention of the police. 

Upon this Governor Hotham ordered a fresh inquiry to 
be made into the case. In the end gross corruption 
was proved, the chairman of the magistrates was dis- 
missed, with some other officials, and Bentley and Farrell 
were convicted. The latter received severe sentences of 
imprisonment. It is a pity that the authorities did not rest 
content with this. Their next step was to arrest and sen- 
tence three ringleaders of the mob which attacked the 
hotel. This act further incensed the angry miners, and a 
" Reform League " was formed for the purpose of insisting 
on " the prerogative of the people." In due course a 


THE RUSH FOR GOLD, 1852-1855 

deputation waited on the Governor to demand the release 
of the prisoners, but Hotham took umbrage at the attitude 
of the delegates, and peremptorily refused. 

The miners' representatives went back to Ballarat, to 
proclaim the futility of their mission to a meeting of some ten 
thousand indignant men. That day, 29th November, 1854, 
witnessed a memorable scene on Bakery Hill. Inflamed 
by the violent speeches of their leaders, the mob denounced 
the Government, hoisted a flag which was to be the emblem 
of the " Republic of Victoria," and proceeded to display 
its contempt for authority by burning all licences. A number 
of fires were quickly made, into which the obnoxious 
documents were thrown. And ere the flames had died 
down every man present had taken an oath to unite in the 
defence of any digger arrested for not having a licence. 

This revolutionary action was at once reported to 
Hotham. " Inspect all licences ! " said the Governor in a 
return despatch, and next morning another of the customary 
" digger hunts " began. But this time, when the warning 
cry of " Joes ! Joes ! " went the round of the camps the 
troopersjwere received with a hot fusillade of stones, in the 
face of which nothing could be done. In vain did Gold 
Commissioner Rede harangue and plead with the crowd ; 
their minds were made up. Finally, as a last resort, the 
Riot Act was read, after which military and police combined 
and dispersed the assemblage. Of those taken prisoners 
eight were arrested for non-compliance with the licence 

This completed the tale of the morning's work. More 
serious events were to follow. In the afternoon and evening 
of the same day a monster meeting was held on Bakery Hill, 
where again loud denunciations of the Government showed 


the temper of the miners. At the head of the men was Peter 
Lalor, an Irish digger who had been most prominent through 
all the agitation. His summons to arms met with an instant 
response. It was resolved to seize rifles, ammunition, 
horses and stores, to drill and organise their forces, and to 
fight to the bitter end. " We swear by the Southern 
Cross," ran the oath taken, " to stand truly by each other 
and fight to defend our rights and liberties ! " 

There was no waste of time. The next day squads of 
men commenced to drill, the erection of a stockade at the 
junction of the Eureka lead with the Melbourne road was 
ordered, while sentries posted themselves on the roads lead- 
ing to Melbourne and Geelong to be on the look-out for 
reinforcements that the military might be expecting. By 
night-time so much had been accomplished that the hastily 
formed stockade contained a small army of eight hundred 
men, armed with rifles, pistols, pikes and other weapons. 
Arms had been commandeered from all quarters, special 
picquets enforcing the orders fand safeguarding the store- 
keepers from robbery. Some of the receipts given by the 
levying officers in the name of the League were roughly 
drawn up, and make amusing reading. One runs : " Re- 
ceived from the Ballarat store, 1 Pistol for the Comtee, x 
Hugh McCarty Hurra for the people 1 " Another : " The 
Reform Lege Comete, 6 drenks, fouer chillings, 4 Pies, for 
fower of the neight watch patriots, x. P." 

The forces on the opposing side were under the command 
of Captain J. W. Thomas, of the 40th Regiment, and com- 
prised both soldiers and mounted police. This little army 
of less than five hundred went into camp in hourly expecta- 
tion of attack. But the leaders of the insurgents were desir- 
ous of making yet another effort to end the matter amicably. 

102 - 

THE RUSH FOR GOLD, 1852-1855 

Two prominent miners, George Black and Carboni Raffaello, 
were appointed to meet the Gold Commissioner, to demand 
the release of the eight imprisoned non-licence holders and 
the discontinuance of " digger hunting." As before, how- 
ever, the request was met with a curt rebuff. It was now 
realised that there was no other recourse save to arms. 

On 1st December Captain Thomas's camp was fired 
upon. Early on the following morning, the stockade having 
been much strengthened and reinforced by four hundred 
Creswick miners, a march was made to Bakery Hill, but 
without coming into conflict with the police. Meanwhile, 
infantry, artillery and marines had been ordered up from 
Melbourne by the Commissioner, so that Captain Thomas 
could now rely on a strong body of troops. 

According to an authoritative account, " every Govern- 
ment employe was armed and told off to his post, and 
sentinels and videttes were placed at every point. The 
principal buildings of the camp were fortified with breast- 
works of firewood, trusses of hay, and bags of corn from the 
Commissariat Stores, and the women and children were sent 
for security into the store, which was walled with thick 
slabs and accounted bullet-proof. A violent storm of rain, 
with thunder, commenced as these arrangements were com- 
pleted, and the Mounted Police, soaked through, spent the 
night standing or lying by their horses, armed, and horses 
saddled ready for instant action. At 4 a.m. on the 2nd of 
December the whole garrison was under arms, and soon after 
daylight a demonstration in force was made towards Bakery 
Hill without opposition, although bodies of men were seen 
drilling near the Red Hill. A mounted trooper coming from 
Melbourne with despatches was fired at near the Eureka lead. 
No work was carried on through the entire diggings, and 



every place of business was closed. Notices were issued 
stating that if any lights were seen in the neighbourhood 
after eight o'clock at night, or if any fire-arms were dis- 
charged, the offenders would be fired at by the military." 

The 2nd of December was a Saturday. By the middle 
of the day the insurgents' stockade was seen to be deserted, 
but a little later a fairly large muster of armed miners 
appeared. Over a hundred Californians from adjacent 
diggings had joined them. Of the original roll-up not a few 
by this time had thought better of their decision and quitted 
the scene ; the various delays, further, accounted for the 
absence of many others. This weeding-out left the foreign 
element in the majority. Lalor's followers were now prin- 
cipally Italians, Germans, French and Prussians. Despite 
the weakening of the force, however, and the knowledge 
that the men's enthusiasm had cooled somewhat, the leaders 
determined to stick to their guns. 

The battle began in earnest in the small hours of Sunday. 
Leaving his camp before daylight Captain Thomas advanced 
upon the stockade with two hundred and seventy-six soldiers 
and mounted police. 1 As dawn broke the miners' sentries 
gave the alarm, and several shots were hastily fired at the 
troops. Inside the stockade all was animation as the men 
rushed to their posts, but the onset of the troopers could not 
be stayed. The outer breastwork of overturned carts, ropes 
and slabs was broken down, and the rebels were driven back 
to their inner entrenchments. From this moment it became 
a fierce hand-to-hand fight, bayonet against pike, and musket 
against musket. 

1 The troops engaged consisted of the following : 117 men of the 40th 
Regiment, under Captain Wise, Lieutenants Bowdler, Hall and Gardyne ; 
65 men of the 12th Regiment, under Captain Queade and Lieutenant Paul ; 
70 Mounted Police, under Sub-Inspectors Furnley, Langley, Chomley, and 
Lieutenant Cossack ; and 24 Foot Police, under Sub-Inspector Carter. 


THE RUSH FOR GOLD, 1852-1855 

In his story of the melee Raffaello tells how his comrades 
took shelter in the rifle pits that had been dug within the 
enclosure. Peter Lalor, a prominent figure at his station, 
was one of the first to be picked off by a rifle bullet, being 
shot in the shoulder and so badly wounded as to necessitate 
the amputation of his arm. After his fall the issue of the 
fight was no longer in doubt. Under the deadly volleys 
poured upon them the defenders of the stockade were 
quickly mowed down, and a bayonet charge put a finish to 
the hopeless struggle. As the remnant of the miners broke 
into wild flight the troopers tore down the blue Southern 
Cross flag with its silver stars, and remained masters of the 

The engagement had occupied less than half an hour, and 
it had cost twenty-eight lives. Of the fallen no fewer than 
twenty-two were diggers. On the side of the troops one 
officer, Captain Wise, of the 40th Regiment, had been killed. 
Many of the attacking force, however, received severe 
wounds, for the fighting had been of a most desperate char- 
acter. While the injured on both sides were being tended, 
the troopers gathered in a large number of prisoners, one 
hundred and twenty-five in all being taken. These were 
marched back to Ballarat, to be subsequently tried for high 

Such was the inglorious and pathetic affair of the Eureka 
Stockade, which stands for all time, in the words of one writer, 
as " the finger-post of Democracy in Australia." Ineffec- 
tive as it was in its immediate results, it was a spirited 
attempt to vindicate the rights of free-born citizens, and its 
justification, or part justification, was not long in following. 
While the general feeling of the goldfields community at its 
termination was one of relief, the widespread sympathy that 



was extended to the rioters could not be mistaken by the 
Government. In all parts of the colony a similar expression 
of opinion was heard, and little doubt was felt as to the 
result of the impending trial. 

Lalor, Black, Vern, and other leaders successfully eluded 
capture, and of the prisoners who eventually appeared before 
the tribunal of justice all were acquitted, amid universal 
satisfaction. Just before the trial Melbourne, at a monster 
meeting, had passed a resolution to the effect " that the un- 
happy outbreak at Ballarat was induced by no traitorous 
designs against the institution of monarchy, but purely by a 
sense of political wrong and irritation, engendered by the 
injudicious and offensive enforcement of an obnoxious and 
invidious tax, which, if legal, has since been condemned by 
the Commission. ' ' With as little delay as possible Sir Charles 
Hotham had instituted an inquiry into the matter, and the 
Commissioners in their report found that the diggers had 
many genuine causes for complaint. They also made^several 
recommendations which the Governor promptly carried into 
effect. By an Act in Council the licence fee was done away 
with and the system of " Miners' Rights " substituted, this 
entailing an annual payment of 20s. and conferring upon the 
recipient both mining privileges and the franchise. A gold 
export duty of 25. 6d. per oz. was fixed upon as a source of 
revenue. Representation in the Legislative Council was the 
next point conceded, two members each being allotted to 
Bendigo, Ballarat and Castlernaine, and one each to the gold- 
fields at Avoca and Ovens. 

Other changes that resulted included the abolition of 
the title of Gold Commissioner, that officer being in future 
styled " Warden of the Goldfields." Local elective mining 
courts were also established, and several of the principal miners 


THE RUSH FOR GOLD, 1852-1855 

received their appointments as Justices of the Peace. By 
the end of December 1854, the miners of Victoria had settled 
down again into peaceable, law-abiding citizens, with a 
measure of local government that ensured a happier and 
more prosperous future for themselves and the entire colony. 
Of Peter Lalor it may be added that when in 1855 
Ballarat was asked to send representatives to the Council, 
he was among the first to be nominated. In after years he 
filled several important positions in the Legislative Assem- 





Edward Eyre, Police Magistrate InspectorRobert O'Hara Burke 
The Victorian Exploration Expedition W. J. Wills The start 
from Melbourne Division of the party At Cooper's Creek The 
dash for the Gulf Wright at Menindie Burke and Wills reach the 
coast The return journey Death of Gray The deserted depot 
Wright and Brahe A series 'of blunders Burke, Wills and King in 
the bush Among the blacks Nardoo Burke and Wills succumb 
Howitt finds King Other expeditions Frederick Walker, Inspector 
of Police From Rockhampton to the Gulf Colonel Egerton- War bur- 
ton In Central Australia Sub-Inspector Robert Johnstone. 

IT is among the proud boasts of the Mounted Police that 
they are worthily represented in the ranks of the Aus- 
tralian explorers. Along with those of Eyre, Leichhardt, 
Sturt, Grey and McDouall Stuart, are to be found the names 
of Burke, Egerton- Warburton and Walker, each of whom 
was "directly and actively connected with the police service. 
Edward Eyre, by the way, had a link with the force, inasmuch 
as he held the position of Police Magistrate previous to 
making his memorable and hazardous journey along the 
coast from Adelaide to Western Australia in 1841. In the 
present chapter we may digress for a moment from the plain 
record of police administrative work in the Australian 
colonies to consider the achievements of those officers who 
have been detached for special duty in exploration, 



In Robert O'Hara Burke the Mounted Police have their 
most famous representative. No record of Australian history 
is complete without the story of the great journey from 
south to north made by Burke and Wills in 1860. It was a 
journey fraught with tremendous difficulties and attended by 
terrible disasters, and round it has raged no little controversy. 
After the lapse of half a century, when the share of praise 
and blame to be 
meted out to the 
leaders has been 
properly appor- 
tioned, one can see 
how great was the 
achievement and 
how lacking were 
the attributes that 
make for success in 
such an enterprise. 

The Burke and 
Wills expedition 
owed its inception 
to an offer made 
by Mr. Ambrose 
Kyte of Mel- 
bourne, at a time 
when Victoria was desirous to add her quota to the great 
work of exploration initiated by the sister colony of New 
South Wales. " I will give 1,000," said this gentleman, 
" towards the equipment of a party to explore Central Aus- 
tralia, provided that a similar sum is contributed by the 
public .' ' The response was immediate and generous . Within 
a short time over 3,000 was subscribed, and to this was 




added 6,000 voted by Government, with an additional 
3,000 for the purchase of camels from India. For the first 
time in Australia the "{ship of the desert " was to be employed 
as a factor in traversing the bleak, sandy regions of the 

Under the auspices of the Royal Society of Victoria the 
details of the Victorian Exploration Expedition were quickly 
arranged. The main depot, the " jumping-off place," was 
to be Cooper's Creek, which had been the limit of Sturt's 
last journey. Thence the explorers were to strike out due 
north for the Gulf of Carpentaria. The choice of a leader 
was left to a selection committee, and after due consideration 
the appointment was given to Mr. Burke. Mr. George James 
Landells, who had brought over the camels from India, 
was second in command, the other members of the party 
being : William John Wills, surveyor and astronomer ; 
Herman Beckler, medical officer and geologist ; Charles 
Ferguson, foreman ; Thomas McDonogh, assistant ; William 
Patten, Patrick Langan, Owen Cowan, William Brah6, 
Robert Fletcher, John King, Henry Croker, Gray, John 
Dickford, and three sepoy camel drivers. 

Burke, who was an Irishman, like so many prominent 
men in the Mounted Police, had had a varied and eventful 
career. He had served in the Austrian Cavalry with the 
rank of Captain, and in the Royal Irish Constabulary, before 
emigrating to Australia. Van Diemen's Land gave him 
his first colonial experience, his appointments there having 
included that of Acting-Inspector at Hobart Town. In 
Victoria he became Police Magistrate at Beechworth, a post 
he held until 1855, when the Crimean War led him to apply 
for leave of absence in the hope of obtaining a commission in 
a line regiment. His hopes were not realised, however. 



The war came to a sudden termination, and he returned to 
Victoria to enter the police force as an Inspector. When 
his services were accepted for the projected expedition he 
had charge of the station at Castlemaine. He was then 
thirty-six years of age. 

Wills was a native of Devonshire, where he was born 
in 1834, and had begun life in Australia as a shepherd on 
the Edwards River in Victoria. Tiring of this occupation, 
he entered the Government Survey Department, and in 
1858 became an assistant at the Melbourne Observatory, 
where his scientific attainments were soon recognised. 
Two years previously, when an expedition had been talked 
of, Wills had applied for a post, but the pro ject had fallen 
through. On the organisation of the 1860 expedition he 
was one of the first to be appointed. 

The 20th of August saw the party set out from Melbourne 
with its complement of twenty-seven camels and a few 
horses and waggons. Proceeding through the settled dis- 
tricts to the River Darling, it reached Menindie, and here 
the first depot was established. Here, also, began the first 
troubles. Ferguson, the foreman, was dismissed by Burke, 
while Mr. Landells and Dr. Beckler resigned their positions 
owing to differences of opinion with their leader. These 
three now returned to Melbourne, and Burke reconstituted 
his force. In place of Landells he appointed Wills second 
in command. A man named Wright, whom he had picked 
up at a sheep station and secured as guide, was given the 
charge of the camels. With these new arrangements effected 
Burke divided his party, leaving half in camp on the Darling, 
while he, Wright, and seven others pushed on for Cooper's 

Good progress was made to this point, but ere reaching 

***** ft 

-' 3 


the Creek Burke made yet another change. Wright, to 
whom he had taken a great fancy, was promoted to be 
third in command, and was despatched back to Menindie to 
bring up the rear party with the supplies. In the meantime 
a camp was formed at Cooper's Creek, where, pending 
the arrival of their companions, Burke and Wills made 
several excursions into the surrounding country. The 
knowledge gained by these trips did not encourage them to 
be hopeful. In most directions the ground was bare, rough 
and stony, and water was scarce. On one occasion Wills 
travelled a distance of ninety miles without finding water, 
and had the misfortune to lose several camels. On an- 
other he and King ventured into a wide desert which offered 
no practicable route to the north. 

It was the llth of November when the advance guard 
arrived at the Creek. After more than a month had gone 
by and there was no sign of Wright and his party, Burke 
became impatient of delay and decided on a bold plan. 
Four of his company were to remain at the depot, to con- 
struct a stockade there and await the others. With Wills, 
King and Gray, he meant to make a dash for the Gulf, 
taking with him six camels, one horse, and three months' 
stock of provisions. Of those left behind Burke wrote in a 
despatch to the Government : "I shall leave the party 
which remain here under the charge of Mr. Brahe, in whom 
I have every confidence. The feed is very good. There 
is no danger to be apprehended from the natives if they 
are properly managed, and there is nothing therefore 
to prevent the party remaining here until our return, 
or until their provisions run short." 

Burke 's impetuosity had led him into making a rash 
move, and yet all might have gone well but for one untoward 



and unexpected incident. The explorers had not been at 
Cooper's Creek more than a day when Wright, in his camp 
on the Darling, learned the news that McDouall Stuart 
had succeeded in nearly crossing the continent. As it 
was important that his leader should know this, with a 
view to following Stuart's track where practicable, Wright 
hastily sent off two mounted men and a native with a 
message to Burke. He himself, until their return, would 
wait at Menindie with the stores, 

Wright's decision in the circumstances was undoubtedly 
a wrong one. In remaining at Menindie he clearly dis- 
obeyed orders, while his own intimate knowledge of the 
country should have told him of the danger of delay. As 
the weeks passed by the fierce heat of the summer dried 
up the herbage and exhausted most of the watercourses. 
The difficulties of the journey to the main depot were 
multiplied a hundredfold. When at last the non-appearance 
of the messengers showed that things had gone amiss 
with them a search party was sent out and the men were 
discovered in a camp of blacks nearly two hundred miles 
away. They had lost themselves, had wandered for many 
days suffering great hardships, and had taken refuge with 
the natives, their mission unaccomplished. There was now 
no occasion for further waiting. On 26th January Wright 
broke camp and began his march to the Creek. 

How this lamentable check proved fatal to the four 
explorers who had gone ahead in the attempt to reach the 
coast will be seen as we follow the story of their journeying. 
It was 16th December when Burke and Wills bade their 
companions good-bye and plunged into the interior. From 
Wills' diary (Burke did not keep his posted regularly) we 
learn that the little party made successful progress along a 

113 i 


fine watercourse which took them a considerable distance 
to the north. Both water and grass proved to be abundant, 
fish and wild-fowl were procured in plenty, so that there was 
no danger of starvation to be feared. The blacks were often 
troublesome, but no conflict with them occurred. Travelling 
easily and without molestation the explorers crossed a 
range of mountains which they named the Standish Ranges, 
after the Victorian Commissioner of Police, and reached 
Cloncuddy Creek, a tributary of the Flinders River. Here, 
owing to the swampy nature of the ground, the camels 
were abandoned, and, King and Gray being left in camp 
with the bulk of the stores, Burke and Wills pushed on to 
the sea. 

In his brief notes Burke says : " 28th February. It 
would be as well to say that we reached the open sea, but we 
could not obtain a view of the ocean, although we made 
every endeavour to do so." What prevented the actual 
accomplishment of this was the dense forest of mangroves, 
which barred their way. Leaving their exhausted pack- 
horse behind, hobbled, the two men made a gallant effort to 
cut a path through the tangled undergrowth, but it proved 
too herculean a task. They had to abandon the attempt 
and remain satisfied with having practically arrived at their 
goal. They were within a mile or so of the sea, though 
unaware of their exact whereabouts. The river they had 
followed they mistook for the Albert, but as a matter of 
fact they were some hundred miles to the east of this stream. 

There was now the return journey to be faced, the jour- 
ney to the main depot where Wright and the rest of the 
expedition were to be in waiting. Having picked up King 
and Gray, and recaptured the camels, Burke and Wills 
set themselves bravely to the tremendous task before 



them. That it was to be such soon became apparent. 
Rain poured upon them incessantly for days, making travel- 
ling slow and laborious. Then sickness broke out. Gray 
was the first to fall ill with dysentery, and soon after 
Burke fell a victim to the same complaint. As they dragged 
wearily along the provisions became reduced. First one 
camel, then another, had to be killed to supply meat. And 
on top of short rations and hardships came the disaster 
of a camel bogged and abandoned in a swamp, with the loss 
some days later of much valuable baggage. By the 6th 
April accidents and the exigencies of the journey had re- 
duced their train to three camels. " Billy, " the horse, 
had become so weak that it was imperative to shoot him. 

Of the four men one, Gray, was now really ill. Both 
Burke and Wills at first believed him to be shamming, and 
the former is stated to have treated him roughly when the 
poor fellow helped himself to some flour to make gruel 
with. Gray was strapped on the back of a camel, which 
itself could do little more than crawl, and the slow progress 
thus made added to Burke's irritation. On the 16th of 
the month, when seven miles only had been traversed, Gray 
died, and Wills records that they were all three so weak 
that they could hardly dig a grave for him in the ground. 
The party was by this time in the terrible Stony Desert. 

After a day's rest they pushed on again, now with only 
two camels and a slender store of meat. Happily, as they 
thought, the depot at Cooper's Creek was not far distant ; 
within a little while they would rejoin their comrades. By 
making a desperate spurt, travelling by night as well as 
by day, the three reached the Creek on the 21st, to meet 
with a woeful disappointment. Instead of a camp they 
found only a deserted stockade. No sign of life was to 



be seen. Hardly crediting his eyes Burke rode on in ad- 
vance and found on a tree the word " Dig " cut into the 
bark. Underneath, when he obeyed this instruction, he 
discovered a small parcel of food stuff and a bottle in which 
was a letter from Brahe stating that he and his companions 
had quitted the spot that very morning ! 
The message ran as follows 


April 2lst, 1861. 

" The depot party of the V.E.E. leaves this camp to-day to 
return to the Darling. I intend to go SE. from camp 60 deg., to 
get into our old track near Bulloo. Two of my companions and 
myself are quite well ; the third, Patten, has been unable to walk 
for the last eighteen days, as his leg has been severely hurt when 
thrown by one of the horses. No one has been up here from the 
Darling. We have six camels and twelve horses in good working 


It was an appalling moment for Burke, Wills and King. 
Ill and weak after more than four months' of hard travel 
and privation, and with their provisions sadly depleted, 
they were dealt the cruellest blow that Fate could have held 
in store for them. Wills might write cheerfully (as he did) 
in his diary, that they made a good supper off some oatmeal 
porridge and sugar that Brahe had left, and that this, 
" together with the excitement of finding ourselves in such 
a peculiar and unexpected position, had a wonderful effect 
in removing the stiffness from our legs." He might also 
touch lightly on their disappointment and the fact that 
they were " awkwardly placed " as to clothing ; the know- 
ledge must have been borne home to him even then that 
death stared them in the face. 

Before leaving the Creek to strike out for Adelaide, which 
point Burke decided on making, Wills placed his written 



record with a message from Burke * in a bottle and buried 
it in Brah6's cache. By a fatal want of thought, however, 
he neglected to alter in any way the word " Dig " on the 
tree, an omission that finally cut off their chance of rescue. 
Sixteen days afterwards Wright and Brahe were again at 
the camp. They saw that the cache to all appearances 
was undisturbed and left without examining it. King 
subsequently averred that he and his companions had left 
several traces of their visit, but this was denied. And so 
blunder was added to blunder, making the culminating 
disaster inevitable. 

What had happened to bring about this seemingly 
inexplicable desertion may be briefly stated. In his tardy 
progress to Cooper's Creek Wright met with continuous 
checks. Several of his party fell ill with the scurvy, neces- 
sitating the formation of a sick camp, and the natives 
encountered now began to show signs of hostility. From 
Bulloo he made a vain effort to reach the Creek, a distance of 
nearly eighty miles, and returned to recruit his force. The 
day on which this retreat was made was the 21st of April, 
the very day that saw Burke and Wills stumbling into 
the abandoned depot. At Bulloo Wright's party was 

1 " Depot No. 2, Cooper's Creek. The return party, consisting of myself, 
Wills and King (Gray dead) arrived here last night, and found that the 
depdt party had started on the same day. We proceed on to-morrow slowly 
down the creek to Adelaide, but are very weak. Gray died on the road from 
exhaustion and fatigue. We have discovered a practicable route to 
Carpentaria, the chief portion of which lies on 140 deg. of east longitude. 
There is some good country between this and the stony desert. From there 
to the tropics the country is dry and stony. Between the tropics and 
Carpentaria a considerable portion is rangy, and it is well watered and richly 
grassed. We reached the shores of Carpentaria on February 11, 1861. 
Greatly disappointed at finding the party here gone. 


" PS. The camels cannot travel, and we cannot walk, or we should 
follow the other party." 


diminished by two deaths. To this calamity was added 
a conflict with the blacks, upon whom they were 
compelled to open fire. 

Then, on the 29th, came the unexpected arrival of 
Brahe and his companions. Having seen nothing of the 
advance party under Burke for over four months, and 
being anxious about Wright's movements, Brahe had de- 
cided to rejoin the latter. Here was another irremediable 
mistake. It was the irony of fate that while Brahe was 
camped down the Creek, scarcely a day's journey from the 
depot, the three men whose lives were in such dreadful 
jeopardy were only a few miles distant from him ! At 
Bulloo the leaders of the two parties were in some indec- 
ision as to how to act. Wright's impulse was to return to 
Menindie, but, thinking it advisable to assure himself that 
the explorers had not reached Cooper's Creek, he set out 
thither with Brahe. As we have seen, they arrived on the 
spot after Burke, Wills and King had left, and failed to 
find any signs of their comrades. Thereafter Wright 
retraced his steps to the Darling, to report the situation 
to the Exploration Committee and suggest that a search 
party be sent out. 

In the meantime Burke and Wills had gone forward 
helplessly to meet their fate. Being too weak to think of 
pursuing Brahe's party, they were endeavouring to make for 
Mount Hopeless, near which was a cattle station. This 
point was within a hundred and fifty miles of the Creek. 
The idea of thus striking out for Adelaide originated with 
Burke. Both Wills and King would have preferred to 
follow their old track back to the Darling, but their leader 
overruled them, and the journey by the new route was 
begun. How they fared is best told by King himself, 



the sole survivor. His graphic narrative carries the story 
on day by day from the hour he left the Creek to his even- 
tual discovery by the relief party under Mr. Howitt. 

Having narrated how they worked their way by slow 
stages down the creek for some miles, existing mainly on 
camel meat (both animals had to be killed), and nardoo l cakes 
and fish obtained from friendly natives, he describes the 
attempts made to push on south-west for Mount Hopeless. 
" Our rations," he says, " now consisted of only one small 
Johnny cake and three sticks of dried meat daily." The 
little store of water carried quickly became exhausted, 
and no more was to be found in the parched, sun-scorched 
country around them. "We all felt satisfied that had 
there been a few days' rain we could have got through." 
In the face of this set-back they returned to the creek, a 
weary march of forty-five miles. Here the blacks again 
befriended them, giving them fish and other food, and at 
Burke's request Wills once more went on to the depot to 
leave another note detailing their present position. 2 

Soon after Wills' return the attitude of the blacks under- 
went a marked change. They made signs that the white 
men's company was undesirable, and, packing up their traps, 
they left the camp. The others made a vain effort to follow 
them and obtain assistance ; the natives moved too fast to 

1 The marsilia macropus, a plant similar to clover, the seeds of which 
are pounded up by the natives to make flour. 

2 Wills wrote thus : " We have been unable to leave the creek. Both 
camels are dead. Mr. Burke and King are down on the lower part of the 
creek. I am about to return to them, when we shall probably come up this 
way. We are trying to live the best way we can, like the blacks, but find 
it hard work. Our clothes are fast going to pieces. Send provisions and 
clothes as soon as possible. 

" (Signed) WILLIAM J. WILLS." 

In a postscript he added : " The depot party having left contrary to 
instructions, have put us in this fix. I have deposited some of my journals 
here for fear of accidents." 



be overtaken. Nardoo collecting now became their chief 
object. On this plant depended their very lives . But King, 
to whom this duty chiefly fell, was failing rapidly in strength, 
while Wills was even weaker. The latter recognised to the 
full the extremity to which they were reduced, and at his 
suggestion a quantity of the plant was gathered and made 
into flour sufficient to last him eight days. " You and King," 
he said to Burke,]" must go in search of the natives and come 
back here for me afterwards. It is our only chance." 
Burke agreed to the proposal, and the two men set forth to- 
gether, leaving their companion in a gunyah (a native hut) 
with water and firewood within reach. We will let King 
take up the story at this point. 

" In travelling the first day, Mr. Burke seemed very weak, 
and complained of great pain in his legs and back. On the 
second day he seemed to be better, and said that he thought 
he was getting stronger, but on starting did not go two miles 
before he said he could go no farther. I persisted in his 
trying to go on, and managed to get him along several times, 
until I saw that he was almost knocked up, when he said he 
could not carry his swag, and threw all he had away. I also 
reduced mine, taking nothing but a gun and some powder 
and shot, and a small pouch and some matches. On starting 
again we did not go far before Mr. Burke said he would halt 
for the night ; but as the place was close to a large sheet of 
water, and exposed to the wind, I prevailed upon him to go a 
little farther, to the next reach of water, where we camped. 
We searched about and found a few small patches of nardoo, 
which I collected and pounded, and with a crow which I shot, 
made a good evening's meal. From the time that we halted 
Mr. Burke seemed to be getting worse, although he ate his 
eupper, He said he feltjDonvinced he could not last many 



hours, and gave me his watch, which he said belonged to the 
committee, and a pocket-book to give to Sir William Stawell, 
and in which he wrote some notes. He then said to me : 
* I hope you will remain with me here until I am quite dead ; 
it is a comfort to know that some one is by : but when I am 
dying, it is my wish that you should place the pistol in my 
right hand, and that you leave me unburied as I lie.' That 
night he spoke very little, and the following morning I found 
him speechless, or nearly so, and about eight o'clock he 
expired. I remained a few hours there, but as I saw there 
was no use in remaining longer, I went up the creek in search 
of the natives." 

Two days later King found some deserted gunyahs where- 
in was a bag of nardoo. He rested here to recover strength, 
and then returned to Mr. Wills. Unhappily he was too late 
to save the latter's life, even had it been possible to do so. 
The ill-fated explorer was lying dead in his hut, stripped of 
some of his clothes, which had evidently been stolen by 
blacks. By his side was his diary, in which he had written 
almost up to the last moment, one characteristic entry allud- 
ing to himself as Micawber, " waiting for something to turn 
up." King buried the body and then tracked the natives by 
their footprints in the sand^to their encampment, where he 
was fortunate in being received kindly. When he made them 
understand that both his companions were dead and that he 
was quite alone, the blackfellows gave him shelter and food. 
But for his gun with which he shot crows, and some little 
knowledge of medicine that he was able to display, King 
would eventually have been turned adrift again. His powers 
of usefulness, however, made him an acceptable guest, and 
with the natives he stopped for some weeks until the relief 
party came in sight. 



It was the expedition under the leadership of Mr. Alfred 
William Howitt that succeeded in discovering King and the 
remains of Burke and Wills. This party started from Mel- 
bourne, where it had been equipped by the Royal Society 
of Victoria. Nearly three months after the tragic death of 
the two explorers Howitt picked up the tracks of camels and 
horses and found enough indications to convince him that he 
was on the right trail. At last his patient search was re- 
warded. In his diary he records how, at the lower end of a 
large reach of water near Cooper's Creek, he learned that two 
of his men had found King. He says : "A little farther on 
I found the party halted, and immediately went across to 
the black warleys, where I found King, sitting in a hut that 
the natives had made for him. He presented a melancholy 
appearance, wasted to a shadow, and hardly to be distin- 
guished as a civilised being, except by the remnants of clothes 
on him. He seemed exceedingly weak, and I found it diffi- 
cult to follow what he said. The natives were all gathered 
round seated on the ground, looking with a most grateful and 
delighted expression." 

Howitt next searched for and found the remains of Burke 
and Wills, burying them in the bush where they lay and 
carving inscriptions on trees by the graves. Later on the 
bodies were removed to Melbourne, to be accorded a public 
funeral. A fine statue was subsequently erected in their 
honour in the Victorian capital, while another memorial 
marked the spot whence the expedition started on its ill- 
fated journey. 

As soon as Wright's startling message had reached Mel- 
bourne the greatest concern for the safety of the missing 
explorers had been displayed in the colonies. In all five 
separate search parties were despatched by the South Aus- 



tralian, Victorian and Queensland Governments, the leaders 
being, in addition to Mr. Howitt, Messrs. McKinlay, Norman, 
Landsborough and Walker. Of these explorers the last- 
named calls for particular mention here, as, like Burke, he 
was a member of the Mounted Police. 

Frederick Walker was an Inspector in the Queensland 
force when he was selected for the task. He was an ex- 
perienced bushman, well acquainted with the blacks, and 
moreover was a man of proved courage and resource. A 
writer has aptly summed him up as " one who could know 
nothing of what Mirabeau called ' that blockhead of a word 
impossible.' ' 

On arrangements being completed Walker left Rock- 
hampton with the intention of making his way to the Albert 
River on the Gulf of Carpentaria, taking with him in the party 
a number of black troopers. His instructions reached him 
in August 1861 ; on the 7th of the following month he was 
at Mr. C. B. Button's station on the Dawson River, whence 
he followed a pass through the mountains to the Barcoo 
River. Proceeding north and north-west Walker came upon 
traces of the expeditions led by Gregory and Leichhardt, and 
found one or two new streams to which he gave names. 
From the Barkly River he struck a tributary of the Flinders, 
near which his party came into collision with the blacks, 
several of the latter being killed. A little later, it now being 
November, one of his troopers found Burke's return track 
close to the junction of the Norman and Flinders Rivers. 
That he was actually on the right scent was proved conclu- 
sively the following morning, when Walker himself picked up 
two leaves from Burke's memorandum book. 

At the end of November the expedition arrived at Morn- 
ing Inlet, on the Gulf. Three days later it reached its goal, 



the Albert River, after a journey occupying just over three 
months. As his object was to ascertain the whereabouts 
of Burke and Wills, dead or alive, Walker started back with 
fresh provisions to the Flinders and took up the trail again. 
Owing to the heavy rains and floods on the plains the tracks 
were in time lost, and, assuming that Burke had gone off 
eastward into Queensland, he struck off in that direction. 
It was a futile quest, of course, for the missing men were far to 
the southward, but a great deal of valuable information was 
obtained about the little-known country to the north-east. 
New rivers and mountains were discovered and named, 
and the young police officer had every reason to be satisfied 
with his trip. He returned to Rockhampton in June 1862, 
having suffered no losses except a few horses. 

There was no flourish of trumpets about Walker's ex- 
pedition. It was a workmanlike performance carried out 
in a modest yet most efficient manner. Every detail of the 
journey was carefully thought out, and the thoroughness of 
the organisation contrasted strongly with the laxity that 
was apparent in Burke and Wills' expedition. Howitt's 
comment was : " Perhaps none of the explorers of this period 
did their work more ably ; certainly none received less com- 
mendation." Having completed his task Walker resumed 
his police duties and dropped back quietly into official life. 

Colonel Peter Egerton-Warburton, whose explorations 
in the centre of the continent were of a later date, was the 
well-known Commissioner of Police for South Australia. He 
held this high office from December 1853 to February 1867. 
After several preliminary journeys into the interior Colonel 
Warburton, in 1873, headed a party which was commissioned 
to search for cattle country to the west of the Overland 
Telegraph line, in the heart of the inhospitable desert coun- 



try between South and Western Australia. For a man of 
sixty years of age it was no light undertaking, but no one 
doubted that the veteran explorer would succeed. The ex- 
pedition, which was a small one with camels for transport 
work, plunged boldly into the interior and for nearly a year 
remained unheard of. Then, when the gravest fears for its 
safety were being entertained, a travel-stained horseman 
one day rode into a station on the De Grey River in Western 
Australia to report that the explorers were in camp a hundred 
and seventy miles away and in dire straits. 

A relief party at once set off to their assistance. They 
found the Colonel and his companions almost at their last 
gasp through the terrible privations they had undergone, and 
with barely more than two days' store of camel's flesh to 
live on. Thanks to this timely aid a tragedy was averted. 
The Western Australian Government took the expedition 
under its special care, and, having supplied all their wants, 
sent on the members to Adelaide. 

Among other Mounted Police who went exploring in the 
seventies was Sub-Inspector Robert Johnstone, who accom- 
panied Mr. George Elphinstone Dalrymple in the North- 
East Coast Expedition organised by the Queensland Govern- 
ment. With Johnstone went thirteen black troopers, their 
number being good testimony to their worth. Leaving 
Cardwell in September 1873, the party proceeded by boat up 
the coast and was successful in discovering some very valu- 
able tracts of land. New ranges of mountains and rivers 
were also found and named. A feature of this journey was 
the marked hostility of the natives, who were mostly canni- 
bals and of a warlike disposition. Johnstone and his 
troopers had had experience of these before, when a vessel, 
the Maria, had been wrecked near the mouth of the Moresby 



River, and they had been despatched to succour the 

On this occasion they were unpleasantly reminded of the 
former trip. Seeing Johnstone and others of the party com- 
ing up the river, the blacks gathered round a certain point, 
evidently prepared to make trouble. They were painted 
white from head to waist in order to look like white men, 
the legs being similarly decorated from the knees downward. 
To add to the effect they endeavoured to imitate white 
men's voices and lure the boat's crew ashore. As this 
manoeuvre failed the blacks dug up the body of one of the 
murdered Maria men and went through the process of the 
massacre in pantomime. The police troopers, however, 
were not easily daunted by these menaces. The party 
presented a bold front and passed on its way without 

What excellent work the Mounted Police have performed 
in more or less subordinate roles in such expeditions is for 
the most part tucked away in official records . To be detailed 
for exploration duty has been " all in the day's work " with 
them, and nothing that any one need brag about. But 
officer and trooper alike, who have faced the hardships and 
perils of many months' journeying through bush and desert, 
through a country as difficult in many respects as any in the 
world, are deserving of a full measure of praise. The Aus- 
tralian Mounted Police are a picked body of men, with a 
high reputation won on many fields ; let not this less-known 
side of their work pass unrecognised. 




A new era of lawlessness Native-born bushrangers Causes of the out- 
break False hero-worship Captain Thunderbolt's generosity 
Francis Gardiner Taking to " the roadj" Capture by Sergeant 
Middleton Trooper Hosie shot Gardiner's rescue John Piesley, 
bushranger " I've come for ' Troubadour ' " A gold escort en 
route Mr. Horsington and Mr. Hewitt " bailed up " The great gold 
escort robbery At the Eugowra Rocks Inspector Sir Frederick 
Pottinger First successes An encounter with Gardiner More 
arrests Fordyce, Bow and Manns A death sentence What became 
of the treasure I 

r I ^HE period of the sixties, with its continuous tale of 
-*- " robbery under arms," is a notable one in the annals 
of the Mounted Police. It was a period that saw the birth of 
a new era of lawlessness, of a reign of terror surpassing 
anything of the like before. Up to this time the Australian 
bushrangers had been almost exclusively convicts or ex- 
convicts. How this class of criminals came into being and 
nourished for many years has been told in a previous chapter. 
By stern repressive measures bushranging was kept under 
in those colonies where it had raged most virulently, but 
although so much was done this legacy of convictism was not 
to be entirely stamped out. With the discovery of the gold- 
fields came a recrudescence of highway robbery on a larger 
and bolder scale than heretofore, and the appearance on the 
stage of a new type of outlaw. The bushranger who now 
terrorised the neighbourhood, plundering wayfarers, " stick- 



ing up " gold escorts or banks in busy townships, was Aus- 
tralian born in the majority of instances. 

The main reason for this extraordinary outbreak is not 
far to seek. In the rush to the goldfields the towns and out- 
lying settlements had been depopulated at first, but as the 
fever of excitement died down large numbers returned to 
more regular occupations, and in every direction an impetus 
was given to trade. It was an unnatural impetus, however, 
and the violent reaction that followed was inevitable. By 
1860 there was great dearth of work and consequent distress. 
This period of depression was made the excuse for defying 
the law by many of the more turbulent spirits. And for those 
who elected to pursue a life of crime the way was easy. In 
and around the diggings rich hauls of gold were to be made 
by a man with a good horse under him, and pluck enough to 
cry " bail up ! " * while in the country districts were scores of 
sympathisers and helpers to enable him to baffle the police. 
Not a few of the small farmers scattered about in the bush 
were old " lags," men who had worked out their sentences 
and settled on the land. These formed a tainted class, in 
whom the predatory instincts were still strong and whose 
children inherited the same traits. 

While there were thus several inducements to the would- 

1 Mr. G. E. Boxall (Story of the Australian Bushrangers) explains the 
origin of this term as follows : " The first supply of horned cattle for Aus- 
tralia was obtained from Cape Town, South Africa, big-boned, slab-sided 
animals with enormous horns. These animals are much more active than 
the fine-boned, heavy-bodied, short-horned or other fine breeds, but they 
can never be properly tamed. It is always unsafe to milk one of these 
cows unless her head is fastened in a * bail ' (a wooden barrier), and her leg 
tied. When driving the cows into the bail it was the custom to order them 
to 'bail up.' It was also usual for bullock drivers when yoking their 
teams to call out ' bail up ' to the bullocks, although no bail was used for 
this purpose. The words were in constant use all over Australia, 
and were adopted by the early bushrangers in the sense of ' stand.' " >, 




be bushranger prospects of fat prizes, secure hiding-places 
in the hills and ready helpers there were also a spice of 
danger and a glamour about the calling that attracted the 
adventurous. Most of the men who took to the road at 
this time were young in years, several of them, indeed, were 
quite lads. That they were old in crime is easily accounted 
for by the vicious nature of their surroundings. Among the 
youth of Australia the bushrangers of other days had been 
invested with a false halo of romance. Writing on this point 
Mr. G. E. Boxall says : " Many of the exploits of the historic 
highwaymen of old were told as actual facts in the careers 
of some Australian bushrangers, with just sufficient varia- 
tion to adapt them to local purposes. One of the ancient 
superstitions introduced into Australia by these story-tellers 
was that the highwaymen robbed the rich to give to the poor. 
I have no desire to raise any doubts as to the generosity and 
benevolence of Robin Hood, but I can find no evidence of 
any such beneficence on the part of any of the Australian 
bushrangers. No doubt they got their money easily, and 
spent it recklessly. But in the course of their dealings 
they did not pause to inquire whether the person they 
robbed was rich or poor." 

One of the isolated instances of generosity which might 
be cited in this connection is recorded of Frederick Ward 
the notorious " Captain Thunderbolt." On a certain 
occasion he " bailed up " a German band in a gap in the 
mountains and, after making them play to him, took every 
penny they possessed. The leader of the musicians pleaded 
tearfully for the money to be returned, as it was their all and 
had been hard earned. Thunderbolt at last promised that 
if he succeeded in robbing the principal winner at the 

Tamworth Races, a man for whom he was on the look-out, 

129 K 


he would make restitution. He made the expected haul 
shortly after, and faithfully kept his word to the Germans, 
sending them their few pounds through the post to an ad- 
dress they had given. Such an instance, however, standing 
almost by itself, does not count for much. It may be set 
down as much to caprice as to kindness of heart. It is only 
too true that the bush robber spared none in his greed for 
gold, and as a rule was as brutal and callous in his methods 
as any of his humbler fellow-criminals. 

The first to gain notoriety in this second generation 
of bushrangers was Francis Gardiner. It is safe to say that 
no other Australian highwayman and he had many 
imitators made his name so feared in his day. Possessed 
of daring and audacity to an unusual degree, he carried out 
some big coups successfully, and for a long time snapped 
his fingers in the face of a police who were at their wits' 
end to capture him. A native of Boro Creek, near Goul- 
burn, New South Wales, Gardiner (his real name, by the 
way, is given as Christie) first came into public notice on 
the Wombat Flat gold diggings. Before this, however, 
he was known to the police of his own colony and that of 
Victoria as a bold horse-thief. In the early days of Bal- 
larat he had been sentenced to five years' imprisonment for 
this offence, a term he had shortened considerably by break- 
ing gaol. Not long afterwards he was again at his old game, 
and this time was sent to Cockatoo Island for seven years. 
From this place he was liberated on ticket-of -leave, and to 
all appearance he now seemed disposed to live by honest 
work. With a man named Fogg he started a butchering 
business at Wombat Flat. Unfortunately this migration 
had taken him out of his proper district, and caused him 
to infringe the regulations. This brought him into conflict 



with the police, and Gardiner was next heard of "on the 

It was not long before a gang had gathered round this 
new leader. There were many kindred spirits in and around 
the goldfields who were ready to try their luck at bush- 
ranging, and the police were quickly made aware that they 
had no light task before them. The number of the gang, 
moreover, was always fluctuating. Its members could never 
be clearly defined. Some of the more venturesome ones 
broke away at times to act singly or in couples, and were 
themselves the nuclei of fresh gangs ^ In their places 
others were soon forthcoming. Still, in his own district 
Gardiner was the leading spirit, and the authorities strained 
every nerve to secure his capture. 

Remembering Gardiner's close association with Fogg, the 
police at last determined to watch the latter in the hope of 
trapping their quarry. The expected chance came in July 
of 1861, when, as a result of the " shadowing," they learned 
that the bushranger had been seen at his friend's house. 
Fogg was now back at his old homestead on the Fish River, 
near the Abercrombie. The news came to Sergeant Middle- 
ton, at the neighbouring police station of Tuena, and with 
Trooper Hosie he rode out to make the capture. Everything 
went well until the two appeared at the door of the farm. 
Then Fogg's wife gave a cry of alarm and ran back into 
the house. When the sergeant followed and was on the point 
of entering an inner room he was met by a shot that happily 
went wide. He guessed rightly that his man was within. 

Without hesitating Middleton pluckily advanced, firing 
his pistol as he drew aside the hanging at the entrance. 
At the same moment the man inside fired also, and this 
time wounded the officer in the mouth. Had not his pistol 



been empty the sergeant would certainly have tried to finish 
the job single-handed, but in the circumstances he deemed 
it wiser to fall back upon Hosie. As investigation showed 
that there was no back exit, they had their man in a trap, 
and they decided to rush the room together. Gardiner, 
whom they had thus surprised, was expecting nothing less. 
When the two suddenly burst in upon him his pistol rang 
out and Hosie fell forward on the floor. 

Seeing that he had hit one, and knowing that the other 
was wounded, Gardiner flung himself at the sergeant who 
stood in the doorway. But Middleton was too tough a nut 
to crack easily, and the bushranger found himself engaged 
in a fierce struggle. In the tussle Middleton found a heavy- 
handled hunting crop that he carried a most useful weapon. 
Then Hosie, who was not badly wounded, but had been par- 
tially stunned, got to his feet in time to lend useful aid. 
Between them the sergeant and the trooper got Gardiner 
to the ground, where the handcuffs were quickly snapped 
round his wrists. 

The next step to be taken was to convey the prisoner to 
the security of a police cell. As Fogg averred that he had no 
horse on the place, or any one who could act as messenger, 
it fell to Middleton to ride off to the nearest township of 
Bigga for assistance. Although weak through much loss 
of blood he mounted his horse and set off, while Hosie, 
in little better case himself, stood guard over the bushranger. 
The latter, it was now found, had been wounded by the 
sergeant in the exchange of shots, and had suffered severely 
from the blows of the hunting crop. At first it was believed 
that Gardiner was so badly hurt as to be dying, but he re- 
gained sufficient strength shortly after to enable Hosie to 
carry out his superior's instructions. These were that 



he should start out on the road with his prisoner as soon 
as possible, with a view to meeting the police party from 

What followed from this stage was for long the subject 
of controversy. By many people it was asserted that 
Hosie accepted a bribe from Gardiner to let him go free. 
This story obtained credence in many quarters, and has been 
repeated again and again by those whose object has been 
the detraction of the police. No doubt the Australian 
Mounted Police have had their black sheep, men who have 
sold their honour for money or otherwise disgraced their uni- 
form, but Trooper Hosie was not of this breed. We have 
the best authority for believing that his story as given in 
evidence at the subsequent inquiry was true in every detail, 
and that Gardiner's escape from custody was due to no fault 
of his. Hosie's explanation was as follows 

" In about an hour and a half," he says, after narrating 
how the sergeant had left him, " I found myself getting 
faint and called upon Fogg to take Gardiner in charge, which 
he did, and when I recovered I found Gardiner in the same 
place as when I fainted. I do not know whether he made 
any attempt to get away from Fogg, but shortly after I 
recovered he tried to get away from me. He attempted to 
throw me down, and we struggled together for a quarter of 
an hour, when he got away and rushed towards the river, 
which was flooded, when he turned and got a sapling and 
rushed at me with it. I fired at him and overcame him. 
Fogg then assisted me again, and we took him back to the 
house and gave him some refreshment. As Middleton did 
not return with assistance, I thought he must have died on 
the road, and I asked Fogg to assist me to take Gardiner to 
Bigga, which he did, and got two horses, one for himself 



and the other for Gardiner to ride. Fogg led Gardiner's 
horse, and I rode behind. When we had got about three 
miles and three-quarters on the road towards Bigga we were 
attacked by two bushrangers, one of whom I believe to have 
been Piesley, who ordered Fogg to let go Gardiner's horse, 
or they would shoot him. He did so. Then they fired at me, 
and I fired at them the only charge I had when they both 
rushed at me and covered me with their revolvers. Fogg 
rushed up and begged of them not to shoot me, but to spare 
my life, and I believe they would have shot me only for 
Fogg's interference. They then left, taking Gardiner with 
them. After they left, Fogg accompanied me for about a 
quarter of a mile on the road for protection." 

The man, John Piesley, referred to above, was one of 
Gardiner's associates who later entered upon a career of bush- 
ranging by himself. On the Southern Road particularly he 
was concerned in a large number of " sticking up " cases, 
including that of the mail-coach from Gundagai. But 
although highly successful in most of his raids, Piesley 
was not destined to enjoy his freedom long. The brutal 
murder of a settler named Benyon, a man against whom he 
had an old grudge, led to his pursuit and capture, and in 
March 1862 he was hung at Bathurst. 

Gardiner, in the meantime, soon made it clear to the 
world that he was still alive. With such well-known and 
desperate followers as John Gilbert, Ben Hall, Jack 
O'Mealley and John Dunn, he ranged over an extensive dis- 
trict, making a series of robberies that the small force of 
police were powerless to guard against. At this time the 
gang's favourite hiding-place was in the Weddin Mountains. 
Whenever the officers of the law did get on the track of the 
offenders the odds were usually against them by reason 



of the superiority of the bushrangers' horses. Time and time 
again the Mounted Police were obliged to give up the chase 
because their steeds failed them. With the stables of the 
whole country to pick from the outlaws kept themselves 
provided with the fastest and strongest horses, enabling 
them to race back to their strongholds in the hills and laugh 
at pursuit. 

Gilbert and Ben Hall, in particular, each had a good eye 
for a racehorse. The latter one day walked into a station at 
Croggan, on the Bland Plains, and bailed it up single-handed. 
There were three men and a boy in an outhouse ; these 
he tied with rope and laid upon the floor. Then he presented 
himself at the house of the station proprietor. " I've come 
for 'Troubadour,' Mr. Chisholm," he said, naming a famous 
horse which that gentleman kept in his stable ; "no non- 
sense, please ; I mean to have him." And a little later Hall 
rode off on his prize, at the same time taking with him 
another horse that had pleased his fancy. 

The most sensational feat of Gardiner was the " sticking 
up " of the gold escort on its way from the Lachlan diggings 
to Sydney. Once every seven or ten days large quantities 
of gold and specie were sent by road to the capital, mostly to 
the banks, the mail coach in which the boxes were deposited 
being guarded by a body of mounted police. 1 Sometimes 
the value of these consignments was very high. One such 
escort from the Lachlan fields carried 34,000. The tempta- 
tion thus offered to the bushrangers was very strong indeed. 
Rarely was there a guard of more than four or five constables, 
and along the road were several places where an ambuscade 

1 In the early days of the diggings the gold was deposited in strongly 
made wooden boxes on which the Government seal was affixed. Later on 
smaller round iron boxes took the place of these, as being safer and more 
convenient to handle. 



could be posted. How effectively advantage was taken of 
one of these points will be seen. 

Writing of his own experience as a digger in these stirring 
times, Mr. G. E. Boxall gives us a vivid pen-picture of a gold 
escort of 1865. 1 He says : " We [himself and two mates] 
were travelling along the road leading from Blaney to Bath- 
urst, near Back Creek, when we saw the Government Gold 
Escort in the distance. The police authorities of New South 
Wales had learned a lesson from the great escort robbery of 
1862, and no longer mounted all the police on the coach or 
drag in which the gold was conveyed to Sydney. At the 
place we had arrived at the road, a chain and a half (99 feet) 
wide, had been cleared through a stretch of heavy forest 
timber. It ran as straight as possible as far as the eye 
could reach, and was bordered on either side by a dense 
growth of timber and scrub rising to a height of from two 
hundred to three hundred feet like a wall of greenery. In the 
centre of the roadway was a metalled or gravelled road about 
fifteen feet wide. The remainder on either side was graded 
to near the timber lines, where a small cutting to carry off 
surface water was made. We rode on the soft grassy side 
slopes, and left the metalled or gravelled road for vehicles. 

" It was in the centre of this gorge in the forest that we 
first sighted the escort. First rode a single trooper ; at 
fifty yards' distance came two more, then, at about the same 
distance, came the escort cart, drawn by four horses, the 
driver and another policeman sitting on the front seat, while 
another trooper sat behind. A mounted trooper also rode on 
each side of the cart. Fifty yards farther back were two 
more troopers, while the rear was brought up by another 
single trooper. The men had their carbines ready in their 

1 The Story of the Australian Bushrangers. 



hands, the butts resting on their thighs. When the leading 
trooper came within hail of us he cried ' Halt ! ' and raised 
his rifle. We halted. The two troopers behind him came 
forward at a rapid pace until they were near enough to sup- 
port him, if necessary. The cart stopped, and the other 
troopers gathered round it ready to defend it. 

" The sergeant in charge inquired what our names were, 
where we were going, and what was our business. We told 
him. He said our horses were superior to those usually 
ridden by diggers. We replied that we didn't care about 
riding old screws. He asked whether the two guns we car- 
ried were loaded. We informed him that one was loaded 
with shot in case we came across a duck or a pigeon. He 
told us to sit up straight and follow him. Then he motioned 
to the two troopers just behind him. He led the way while 
the troopers followed behind us. We all kept to the side 
of the road ; the cart having been drawn up on the other 
side. The other troopers sat on their horses, carbine in hand, 
as we passed. It was a most impressive show of force out 
there in the bush. The sergeant and two troopers conducted 
us for about a hundred yards past 'the cart and then pulled 
up. The sergeant said it was difficult to tell what men were 
by their appearance. He advised us to be very careful, and 
asked if we had any gold or money with us. He then wished 
us good-day, after] telling us to ride straight on and not 
attempt to turn back." 

Mr. Boxall adds byway of reflection that in talking the 
matter over in camp later, he and his mates came to the 
conclusion that despite the improvement in the escort service 
it would not have been impossible to rob the escort again. 
By holding the attention of the foremost troopers in much 
the same way as described and posting others of its members 

137 ~ 


in the scrub, a gang of bushrangers could have shot down the 
policejwith little difficulty. However, this protection for the 
escort proved to be sufficient, for there is no record of its 
having been ever plundered again. 

Before the story of the great gold escort robbery is told 
mention must be made of another affair in which Gardiner 
was concerned. It is chiefly important as having been partly 
the means of securing his ultimate conviction. Early in 
March of 1862 a storekeeper of Lambing Flat named Horsing- 
ton, was driving from the township of Little Wombat to his 
home with his wife and another resident named Hewitt. 
The last-named rode behind the vehicle on horseback. The 
party had only proceeded a few miles when Gardiner and 
three companions jumped out from the bush with the cry of 
" bail up ! " Without any preamble the cart was turned 
into a side track and the captives were conducted to a remote 
spot free from possibility of observation. The bushrangers 
had knowledge that the two men were worth plucking, and 
they were rewarded with plunder to the amount of about 
1,000. Having taken this and sundry articles, including 
a saddle and whip, the gang made off. Messrs. Horsington 
and Hewitt on their part lost no time in rousing the police, 
but although a search party rode out no traces of the robbers 
could be found. 

It was only three months later that Gardiner brought 
off his great coup. On a Sunday morning in June, the 
15th of the month, the mail-coach with its escort set out as 
usual from Forbes, the centre of the Lachlan goldfields. 
It was driven by Johnny Fagan, a well-known and popular 
character. In charge of the escort was Sergeant Condell, 
who sat by the driver's side, the other police being Senior- 
Constable Henry Moran, Constable William Haviland, and a 



fourth trooper whose name is not given. These rode inside 
the vehicle. The consignment carried in the coach comprised 
700 in cash and 2,067 oz. ISdwts. of gold for the Oriental 
Bank ; 521 oz. 13 dwts. 6 grs. for the Bank of New South 
Wales ; and 3,000 in cash and 129 oz. for the Commercial 
Banking Company. The total value was placed at 14,000. 
In addition to this treasure there were, of course, several 
mail-bags, in which were letters and packets containing 
various sums of money. 

With no suspicion of impending danger the mail-coach 
rattled briskly along the road towards Sydney. It was just 
before noon when it started, and five hours elapsed before 
the first warning was experienced. Just past a place called 
Coobang, where the road begins to run between the Eugowra 
range of rocks, two drays drawn by bullocks were found stand- 
ing in the path. No teamsters were to be seen. In itself 
there was nothing very alarming about this occurrence, and 
the escort turned sharply into the narrow passage between 
the drays and the rocks. Owing to the limited space and 
the curve of the roadway Fagan reined in his horses to a 

Then unexpectedly the attack began. From behind a 
group of rocks appeared six men conspicuous in red shirts 
and red caps, and with their faces blackened. Before the 
police could raise their carbines these poured a volley into 
the coach, wounding the sergeant and Constable Moran and 
drilling a hole through Johnny Fagan's cabbage-tree hat. 
Immediately after this discharge another half- dozen men took 
the places of the other party and fired a second volley, which 
had the effect of causing the horses to take fright and capsize 
the coach. The police, thus taken by surprise, fired back at 
the bushrangers as quickly as possible, but as they were too 

- 139 


exposed in the open they now sought cover in the bush at the 
side of the road. From this vantage point they endeavoured 
to hold their own, but the numbers of their enemies made it 
advisable to beat a retreat and seek assistance. 

While, therefore, the exultant bushrangers were busy 
plundering the coach and packing the gold boxes on their 
horses, Sergeant Condell, Fagan and the three troopers 
made their way in the gathering darkness to Mr. Clements' 
station, near at hand. The squatter at once despatched a 
messenger to Forbes to acquaint Sir Frederick Pottinger, 1 
the Inspector in charge of the police there, with the news. 
This officer with all promptitude organised a party of 
troopers and black trackers, and by two o'clock on the fol- 
lowing morning was on the scene of the outrage. The trail 
of the bushrangers was picked up and followed, the troopers 
eventually coming upon the remains of a fire in which were the 
charred remnants of the red shirts, caps and masks. In the 
vicinity were found the mail-bags, ripped open, some empty 
boxes and a litter of papers and letters. From the direction 
of the hoof-marks the trackers concluded that the gang had 
ridden towards their customary haunt in the Weddin Moun- 

Sir Frederick Pottinger and his men pushed on in pursuit 
with all speed, but the police horses were no match for those 
of the bushrangers. Before anything of real value could be 
accomplished the party was forced to return to Forbes for 
fresh mounts. In the meantime, the mail-coach was re- 
horsed and sent forward on its journey with such of the mail 
as was recovered untouched. Soon after leaving Orange, 

1 Sir Frederick Pottinger had joined the Mounted Police in the days of 
the Southern Patrol, then being known as Trooper Parker. He assumed 
his real name on succeeding to the baronetcy. 



however, another tragedy occurred. Constable Haviland, 
who was seated inside the vehicle with his fellow-trooper 
Moran and two passengers, shot himself dead with a revol- 
ver in circumstances that left little doubt that the affair was 
due to accident. 

From Orange and Forbes the news of the escort robbery 
atjthe Eugowra Rocks spread quickly over the country, and 
the greatest excitement prevailed. Captain M'Lerie, the 
Inspector-General of Police in Sydney, supplemented Pottin- 
ger's efforts by ordering out several other superintendents 
and inspectors into the field. From Bathurst went Super- 
intendent Morrissett with his troopers, and from Yass, 
Superintendent Battye. These, and other bodies of police, 
scoured the district as thoroughly as could be managed, but 
without avail until several days had elapsed. At the same 
time a reward of 1,000, with the promise of pardon to an 
informer if an accomplice, was offered by the Government. 1 

The first to get upon the actual trail of the bushrangers 
was Senior-Sergeant (afterwards Superintendent) Sanderson, 
a member of Sir Frederick Pottinger's party. It was well- 
known by now that Frank Gardiner was the leader of the 
gang pursued, as Sergeant Condell had positively identified 
his voice at the time of the attack. With this knowledge 
Sanderson followed a certain course to the Weddin Moun- 
tains, with the result that he pressed so hard upon the heels 
of the bushrangers that they abandoned a pack-horse which 
carried a considerable amount of gold. Sir Frederick, 
who was continuing the search at another point, later on made 

1 The mode of despatching a gold escort without the accompaniment of 
mounted troopers (in the Lachlan instance the men rode inside the coach) 
was the occasion of public condemnation. As a result of the outcry the 
Government shortly after issued instructions for the proper guarding of the 
mail-coach by mounted troopers in advance, and in the rear, of the vehicle. 


-. , v 



a notable capture of two men implicated in the robbery, 
together with a portion of the plunder, but while conveying 
them to Forbes a rescue was effected. The police officers, 
three in number, were attacked by a larger party of bush- 
rangers and compelled to fall back letting their prisoners go 
free. One of these men, it may be said here, was the notori- 
ous Manns who was afterwards re-arrested and hung. The 
only consolation the Inspector had was the knowledge that 
he had safely kept the recaptured gold, although Gardiner 
had made it known that he would never let it be taken to 

Following upon this incident many wild rumours were 
circulated throughout the colony. It was more than once 
asserted that Gardiner and other principals had been shot 
down in an encounter with the police, but each report was in 
turn falsified. What did actually happen was an attempt to 
apprehend Gardiner that almost proved successful. In this 
both Sir Frederick Pottinger and Sergeant Sanderson were 
concerned. Acting " on information received " the two 
officers with Sub-Inspector Norton and a trooper named 
Holster watched a house which the bushranger was believed 
to be visiting. There was known to be a woman in the case, 
the wife of a settler with whom Gardiner was carrying on 
an intrigue. The information turned out to be correct. 
From a position in the pine tree scrub outside the house Sir 
Frederick at midnight observed a man on a white horse 
approaching the place. 

" The noise of horse's hoofs," he says, " sounded nearer 
and nearer, when I saw Gardiner cantering leisurely along. 
I waited until he came within five yards of me, and levelling 
my carbine at^him across his horse's shoulder (the weapon, I 
swear, being about three yards from his body) I called upon 



him to stand. I cannot be mistaken, and on my oath I 
declare that the man was Frank Gardiner. Deeming it not 
advisable to lose a chance I prepared to shoot him, but the 
cap of my piece missed fire. Gardiner's horse then began to 
rear and plunge, and before I had time to adjust my gun, 
he had bolted into the bush." 

As Gardiner was riding away on the frightened animal 
Sergeant Sanderson and Trooper Holster both sent flying 
shots after him, but without effect. And so once more the 
bushranger gave his would-be captors the slip and once more 
had the laugh of the police. This unfortunate affair led to 
Sir Frederick and his aids being severely criticised by the 
public, who were chafing at the continued non-success of the 
authorities. That the Inspector was somewhat to blame in 
this instance must be admitted. A man of undoubted cour- 
age, he was impetuous to a fault, a weakness that certainly 
dimmed his reputation. Too anxious to make the arrest 
single-handed, he tied the hands of his companions by 
issuing strict orders that no shot was to be fired until he 
gave the command. When at last he did so it was too late 
for the other officers to do anything effective. 

However, although much ridicule was levelled at the 
Mounted Police they stuck steadily to their work, and were 
not long before they were able to proclaim an arrest of the 
greatest importance. Sergeant Sanderson, who had been 
quietly making investigations in the neighbourhood of 
Wheogo, apprehended five men, among whom were John 
McGuire, Benjamin Hall and Daniel Charters. On one of 
these were found some notes believed to be identical with 
those stolen from the escort. There was certainly enough 
to justify arrest on suspicion, but the police were not aware 
of the value of their " haul " until Charters made a 


voluntary confession. In his statement the latter revealed 
the true history of the robbery and named the men who had 
played the leading part therein. Among those not yet 
under lock and key were three, Alexander Fordyce, John Bow 
and Jack O'Meally. These were now arrested, while the satis- 
faction of the police was increased by the knowledge that 
another prisoner, known as Turner, was in reality Manns, a 
prominent associate of Gardiner. 

In due course the bushrangers Fordyce, McGuire, Bow, 
O'Meally and Manns were tried before a Special Com- 
mission that sat at Sydney. There the informer Charters 
repeated his confession in more detail, and after certain of 
the law's delays Fordyce, Bow and Manns were convicted 
and sentenced to death. Charters, as promised, received a 
pardon. The others, with six more highwaymen arraigned 
on different charges, escaped with terms of imprisonment. 
The death sentence, however, was only carried out in the 
case of Manns. Strong pressure was brought to bear to 
secure the reprieves of Fordyce and Bow, the result being 
that their sentences were commuted to imprisonment for 

What became of Gardiner, Hall, O'Meally, Gilbert and 
others of this noted gang, will be related in the following 
pages. In closing this chapter of their history it only re- 
mains to add that, beyond what the police recovered in the 
first stages of their search, no more of the stolen treasure 
was discovered. In commenting on this Mr. Charles White, 
in his account of the escort robbery, remarks significantly : 
" Some of the residents of the district have always held to 
the opinion that more than one of the * shares ' so carefully 
divided^by the leader of the gang still lie hidden in the fast- 
nesses of^the Weddin Mountains. My own opinion is that 


(Taken after death.) 





there are persons living at the time this is being written 
and nearly forty summers have passed away since the robbery 
who could, if they chose, account for the unrecovered gold 
and notes. More than this I dare not say." 




" Gardiner's Flying Squadron " Inspector Patrick Brennan Catching a 
tartar Bushrangihg tactics " Bush telegraphs " Gardiner disap- 
pears Detective McGlone Capture of Gardiner Trial and sen- 
tence Ben Hall Sticking up of Canowindra Relaxations Mock 
bushrangers and a sequel Police caught napping Trooper Button's 
pluck Trooper Burns Four to one A bushranger shot Medals 
awarded Raid on Bathurst Police blunders The system at fault 
Government action Police reforms instituted. 

SIR FREDERICK POTTINGER was not the only police 
officer who had a personal encounter with Gardiner 
and members of his gang. Not very long after the gold 
escort robbery a party of the bushrangers appeared at 
Pudman Creek, where they " bailed up " Mr. Dwyer, store- 
keeper ; and at Blakeney Creek, where they similarly treated a 
Mr. Rudif. The band are reported as having been armed 
each with two revolvers and a gun. They represented 
themselves as " Gardiner's Flying Squadron." 

When the bushrangers had taken toll and ridden off, the 
discomfited storekeepers apprised the police at Yass, the 
nearest point, whence word was passed on to Goulburn, 
sixty miles farther along the Southern Road. At this latter 
town was the late Inspector Patrick Brennan. On receipt of 
the intelligence he and a trooper saddled up and started to 
get on the trail of the thieves. Riding direct to Yass they 
reached the house of a Mr. Phillips at nightfall and stabled 


their horses while they went inside. Within less than half 
an hour Mr. Phillips and his guests were enjoying the un- 
usual experience of being " stuck up," for two bushrangers 
had reined up at the door with a summons to the inmates 
to surrender. 

It was a veritable case of catching a tartar. The In- 
spector and his assistant dashed out, revolver in hand, and 
called on the surprised bandits to yield in their turn. In a 
flash one of the men fired, hitting Brennan in the left shoul- 
der, but the officer was quick to respond and his assailant 
dropped his gun with an oath as a bullet struck his right arm. 
While the wounded bushranger leapt into the bush to make a 
bolt for it, pursued by the trooper, Brennan shot the horse of 
the other man, and closed with him in a desperate struggle. 
After being badly knocked about the head with the butt of a 
revolver the Inspector gained the upper hand and dis- 
armed his opponent. To his gratification, the prisoner 
proved to be one Sedwicker, a well-known criminal wanted 
on several counts, and clearly one of those who had robbed 
Mr. Dwyer. Some of the stolen property, saddles, guns and 
revolvers, was found in the possession of himself and his mate, 
whom the trooper soon brought back in triumph. 

To return to Gardiner, the efforts of the mounted police 
to hunt him down were unceasing, but the tactics of the 
bushranger leader constantly outwitted them. By dividing 
his forces Gardiner kept the troopers busily engaged in two 
separate districts at the same time, so that some confusion as 
to his movements arose. It was openly stated that he used 
the newest members of his band, the " neophytes," to decoy 
the police by making a demonstration at some point ; then, 
when the troopers had been called out, Gardiner and 
his " men-at-arms," as the older hands were styled, would 



descend on the diggings or the township to make their haul. 
This plan was worked successfully many times, at Lambing 
Flat and other places, and in letters to the press Gardiner 
taunted the police with the ease with which they fell into 
his trap. That he was well served, also, by " bush tele- 
graphs," is shown by a newspaper of that date. Says the 

" About three or four months ago the [police] patrol were 
on the Bland Plains (near the Abercrombie River) in pursuit 
of some well-known desperadoes, who they knew were not 
many miles off, and they called at a slightly suspected sta- 
tion. Being unsuccessful they proceeded to the next station, 
the residence of a truly loyal man. He gave the officer in 
command all the information in his power, but while doing 
so he suddenly exclaimed : ' Haste, or you'll be too late : for, 

by Jove, there goes the " telegram " from Mr. 's place, 

you passed last ! ' The officer looked in the direction pointed 
out, and there saw straight across one of the highest ranges 
at a stretching gallop, a finely mounted youth. No time 
was lost by the patrol, but when they got to their destination 
they found the residents calmly waiting their arrival, having 
been evidently on the look-out for some time. Of course, 
everything was found correct and square, so that the police 
had to return sadder, but in slightly one sense (i.e. bush 
telegraphy), wiser men." 

There was reason to believe that the organisation of 
this service was so thorough that every township had its 
" telegram." Certain it is that throughout a wide extent of 
country the bushrangers were kept fully posted as to the 
movements of the police by their many friends. Such help 
was forthcoming sometimes through fear of the consequences 
of refusal, but often, no doubt, it was purchased. In the 



bush community the majority of men had their price, and 
were not loth to buy immunity for themselves. How im- 
mensely this added to the difficulties of the Mounted Police 
will be readily understood. 

For many months the depredations of the gang continued 
with few checks. Then a rumour was circulated to the 
effect that Gardiner had disappeared from his old haunts, 
and that the bushrangers had a new leader. Police and 
public were alike incredulous at first, but for once rumour 
did not lie. The '* Prince of Tobymen," as he liked to sign 
himself, had actually resigned from office and betaken him- 
self to pastures new. At the same time Mrs. Brown, the 
woman whose name had been linked with his for a year or 
two, disappeared, and it was rightly conjectured that the 
two had fled together. 

The eventual hunting down of Gardiner was the work 
of a smart Sydney detective named McGlone. This officer 
learned that the bushranger was in Queensland, at the new 
diggings at Apis Creek, where he had been recognised 
by a man whom he had " stuck up " on a New South Wales 
goldfield. Having been furnished with a warrant for arrest 
and all necessary documents, McGlone left Sydney in January 
1864 and sailed for Rockhampton. He was accompanied 
by two policemen, Constables Pye and Wells, to neither of 
whom he confided the true reason of their mission. 

On arrival in Queensland the detective set to work cau- 
tiously, knowing that Gardiner would be keenly suspicious 
of newcomers. He and his companions, therefore, dressed 
themselves as diggers and in this guise travelled slowly 
along the road to the Apis Creek goldfield. It was here that 
Gardiner, or Christie, as he now preferred to be known, had 
settled. In partnership with a man named Craig, whom he 



had picked up while travelling, and who was blissfully inno- 
cent of the other's real character, he had started in business 
as a publican and storekeeper, " Mrs. Christie " assisting 
by serving behind the bar. In his quest for the much wanted 
bushranger McGlone was favoured by no little luck. That 
he was on the right trail he knew by meeting several faces 
that he remembered having seen in the Lachlan district, 
faces of men who were known to be " in " with Gardiner. 
But how close he was to the latter himself he little guessed. 

The three policemen pitched their camp within a stone's 
throw of the new public-house, and in due time McGlone 
took a stroll round to prospect. To his astonishment 
the first individual he encountered was Gardiner himself, 
seated in the entrance to the house. The detective identi- 
fied him at once. " Native of Goulburn, New South Wales, 
32 years of age, 5 feet 8J inches high, a labourer, dark sallow 
complexion, black hair, brown eyes, small raised scar in left 
eyebrow, small scar on right chin, scar on knuckle of right 
forefinger, short finger-nails, mark on temple from a wound 
by pistol ball or whip " : so ran the published description 
which he knew by heart. Whether Gardiner at the time still 
wore the moustache and beard that he affected during his 
raids is not stated. Our portrait depicts him as he was in 
later years, after serving his term of imprisonment. 
p* McGlone in his account of the capture tells how he invited 
Gardiner into the house to have a drink, and how convinced 
he was that the other had no suspicion that he was being 
tracked. Afterwards the detective explained the situation 
to his two assistants, and then went off to secure the help 
of Lieutenant Brown, of the Queensland Native Mounted 
Police, who was in the neighbourhood. The utmost care was 
taken to prevent any hitch in their plans. As arranged, 



Brown and his black troopers came sauntering by the house 
at the moment that the pseudo-diggers were preparing to 
strike camp. Gardiner was skilfully engaged in conversa- 
tion and then, at a signal, he was seized and thrown to the 
ground. The native police meanwhile covered those who 
were spectators of the scene, to prevent any attempt at 
rescue. There was no occasion for force, however. The 
surprise had been complete. With his prisoner McGlone set 
off for Rockhampton, where his warrant obtained Gardiner's 
remand to Sydney. Without any delay for the influence 
of the bushranger's many " friends " was to be feared the 
detective hurried his man on board a steamer leaving for 
New South Wales, and safely got clear. 

At his first trial in Sydney, the charge being " shooting 
and wounding Sergeant Middleton with intent to murder 
him," Gardiner was acquitted. He was remanded to gaol, 
however, as another indictment was to be preferred against 
him., In the court-house satisfaction at the verdict was 
openly expressed by the spectators, but the press of the 
colony adopted a very different tone. On all hands the 
newspapers condemned the false spirit of hero-worship that 
prevailed, principally among the lower classes, and called 
for Gardiner's conviction and punishment. This followed in 
due course two months later, when he appeared before the 
Chief Justice, Sir Alfred Stephen, to answer the charge of 
robbing Messrs. Horsington and Hewitt " under arms," 
and that of wounding Trooper Hosie " with intent to do 
grievous bodily harm." On a verdict of " guilty " being 
returned, Gardiner was sentenced to three terms of penal 
servitude which amounted in all to thirty- two years. 

Although the prison gates had now shut upon the notori- 
ous bushranger, seemingly for life, the good fortune that 


had ""marked his careerlwas'still to follow him. In July 1874, 
after only ten years' incarceration, he was released through 
a strenuous agitation on the part of his sympathisers. In 
setting him free, however, the Government made it con- 
ditional that he should leave the country, and in accordance 
with this provision Gardiner was immediately shipped to 
San Francisco. Here he spent the remainder of his days, 
the proprietor of a flourishing " saloon " and, so far as is 
known, an honest and law-abiding citizen. 

Of the other members of the Gardiner gang those who 
most claim attention are Ben Hall, John Gilbert, Jack 
O'Meally and John Dunn. John Vane, who attained no little 
notoriety, was a later addition to the band. In Hall the 
bushrangers found a capable successor to their late chief. 
At the outset of his career a well-to-do and popular squatter, 
this worthy came under the suspicion of the police as an 
accomplice of Gardiner. Hall himself always stoutly main- 
tained (and with some show of reason) that he was innocent 
of any such charge. When the gold escort robbery occurred 
he was arrested by Sir Frederick Pottinger, who believed him 
to be implicated in the affair, but the charge fell through. 
Shortly after he was thrown into the company of a bush- 
ranger named Daley, whom the police hotly pursued, and 
in desperation Hall openly took to the road. 

One of the earliest exploits of the new leader was the 
" sticking up " of Canowindra. In company with Gilbert and 
O'Meally, Hall rode into the township soon after midnight 
and roused the proprietor of Robinson's Hotel. Every- 
one in the place having been bailed up, the household was 
collected in one room, where they were invited to partake 
of refreshment. This little company was increased after 
daylight by several drovers who were brought in by Gilbert. 



Then three gentlemen arrived at the hotel in a buggy, these 
being similarly made prisoners. But, though they had so 
far found little in the shape of plunder, the bushrangers 
treated their captives with all consideration. Dinner was 
served by their orders, and, what was more surprising, it 
was paid for, as were the spirits and cigars that were provided. 

In the meantime, other hotels and stores were visited 
and the leading citizens conducted to the temporary prison 
at Robinson's Hotel. To add insult to injury, the one police- 
man in the township was next hauled up and forced to act as 
sentry, the three bushrangers hugely enjoying the spectacle 
of the representative of the law marching solemnly to and 
fro on the verandah with a musket in his hands. Two days 
passed thus, the time being mostly filled with dancing and 
music. At night only the women and children were allowed 
to go to bed. All the male members of the party slept in their 
seats. On the third morning permission was given to the 
prisoners to go on their way. Hall, Gilbert and O'Meally 
then rode off, poorer in pocket than when they had arrived, 
but expressing themselves very well content with their 
" spree." They had demonstrated the ease with which a 
whole township could be bailed up. 

The liking for a little relaxation in the way of music was 
a not uncommon characteristic of the bushrangers of the 
sixties. Some of the gang were themselves no mean per- 
formers on the piano, and could sing a good song. One of 
Gardiner's followers, having stuck up a station, compelled 
the daughter of the house to play his accompaniment, while 
with unconscious humour he regaled his host with a render- 
ing of " Ever of thee ! " Captain Melville, the Victorian 
celebrity, was also noted among the fraternity for his musical 
accomplishments . 

153 ~ 


A story which bears on this subject and relates to this 
period has an amusing as well as a tragic side to it. A 
certain wealthy squatter once gave a large dance at his 
station. While the festivities were at their height three 
young fellows of the party slipped away unobserved, to 
present themselves soon after in the doorway of the ball- 
room with blackened faces and revolvers. At the sight of 
the roughly dressed, ominous figures a silence fell on the 
company, the ladies shrinking timidly to the wall. " Hands 
up ! " came the stern order from the leader of the trio, but, 
not wishing to carry the joke too far, he and his companions 
laughingly revealed their identity. 

Every one joined in the merriment and the dance pro- 
ceeded. It had been a good joke, even if a little in bad taste. 
About an hour later there came another interruption of a 
like kind. When two bearded and masked men appeared 
with levelled revolvers and a command to " Hands up ! " 
as before, no one realised that anything serious was amiss. 
" It's those boys again," said one voice. A gentleman who 
was near the door tried to pull off one of the masks, but he 
was met by a blow and a volley of curses that left little doubt 
as to the real nature of the intruders. 

" Turn out your pockets, and no blank fooling ! " said 
one of the bushrangers. And as the scared dancers stood in 
rows along the walls he and his mate made a goodly haul of 
cash and jewellery. There was no nonsense this time ; the 
robbers were the genuine article. After they had collected 
all the portable property the two ruffians ordered refresh- 
ments to be brought them, while some of the ladies played 
and sang. Then, with polite thanks for their entertainment, 
they withdrew and rode off into the darkness. 

To hold the police up to contempt whenever possible was 


another delight of the bushrangers. In one instance that is 
recorded they caught a sergeant and two mounted troopers 
napping. One of the latter was pounced upon in the bush, 
where he was chasing a runaway horse, and was promptly 
tied to a tree. The sergeant and other trooper were surprised 
in a hut, which was affording them a temporary rest, and 
made prisoners without difficulty. The policemen then 
had the mortification to see the rascals coolly appropriate 
their carbines, revolvers and even handcuffs, being left help- 
less and without any alternative but to return to their 
quarters. It was little wonder that when such occurrences 
were made known (and the bushrangers took good care that 
this was done) the inefficacy of the police was the subject 
of general comment. On the face of it the gentlemen of the 
road were having the best of the game. And yet this much 
must be said for the troopers. By the shortsighted policy 
of the authorities they were poorly horsed and poorly armed. 
However courageous they might be and there were cer- 
tainly few cowards among them they had small chance of 
success against men whose equipment was superior to theirs 
at all points. 

That a mounted policeman could show pluck in the face 
of fire, despite repeated taunts to the contrary, was evidenced 
on many occasions. Take the case of Trooper Button of 
the Bathurst detachment. A raid had been made upon 
some stables near the town, and one or two valuable horses 
stolen. As pursuit had proved unavailing, a substantial 
reward was offered for information leading to the apprehen- 
sion of the offenders, while steps were taken to guard against 
the police plans becoming public. Bush telegraphs were to 
be caught at all costs and made examples of. To this end 
Superintendent Morrissett of Bathurst, and a small party, 

~ 155 


watched the country closely for some days. In the end they 
were successful in arresting three men who were strongly 
suspected of being in league with the bushrangers. 

With his prisoners the Superintendent proceeded to 
Bathurst by coach, having two other police officers inside 
with him. Trooper Sutton rode outside as escort. A few 
miles along the road from Carcoar a not unexpected rescue 
was attempted. Three bushrangers, afterwards identified 
as Gilbert, O'Meally and Vane, stopped the coach and 
demanded the release of the prisoners. The police promptly 
jumped out to show fight, being met with a discharge from 
the others' guns. They were on the point of firing back 
when Trooper Sutton, who had dropped a little way behind 
on the road, suddenly came up at a gallop and charged 
straight at the gang. His revolver rang out twice and he was 
raising it for a third shot when a bullet struck his arm and 
placed him hors de combat. The trooper thereupon rode 
back towards the coach to rejoin his comrades, and was 
probably never nearer certain death than at that moment. 
One of the shots aimed at him as he turned sent his hat 
flying from his head. 

To make a long story short, the fire of the police became 
too hot for the bushrangers and they made off with their 
object unattained. The coach then continued on its way, 
Sutton being dropped at a wayside inn, as loss of blood had 
made him too weak to stand the journey. The plucky 
trooper was found to have been badly wounded, but under 
medical treatment he recovered to spend many useful years 
in the force. 

The brave stand made by Trooper Burns while on duty 
with the Araluen gold escort is also worth recording. This 
was in 1865, towards the end of Ben Hall's career. As the 



light spring cart drove along the road from the diggings to 
Major's Creek Mount and was ascending the incline it was 
fired upon by four bushrangers who had taken cover among 
the trees. A trooper named Kelly was wounded fatally at 
the first discharge and dropped from his horse. Burns was 
driving at the time. Jumping down he coolly placed a stone 
behind the wheel of the vehicle, and then opened fire upon 
the attacking party. His companion on the box seat, a 
Mr. Blatchford, Justice of the Peace, ran down the hill to a 
hotel they had just passed to summon help, while two other 
troopers in the escort made a detour to attack the bush- 
rangers in the rear. 

For the time Burns was left alone to bear the brunt of 
the fighting. Opposed to him were Hall, Gilbert and two 
more of the gang, all well armed. Kneeling behind the 
cart the trooper held them at bay successfully, luckily escap- 
ing being hit by their bullets, until suddenly the other 
troopers brought their rifles to bear on the party. The fire 
was now becoming too hot for the bushrangers, and after a 
few more shots they gave up the attempt and disappeared. 
For this smart piece of work Trooper Burns received a 
substantial reward. 

Another instance in which the bushrangers came badly 
off occurred just after the affair at Reedy Creek, near Mudgee, 
when the Cassilis mail was stuck up. The next day, while a 
Mr. Robert Lowe was driving along the Mudgee road with 
his servant, Hugh McKenzie, they were ordered to stand. 
Mr. Lowe had a loaded gun in his buggy and stooping down 
quickly he seized it and fired at the two men who barred the 
road. His shot told, for as the highwaymen turned to take 
cover one of them fell to the ground. The other then put 
spurs to his horse and galloped off. Subsequently this man 



was pursued by Sergeant Cleary of the Mounted Police and 
two black trackers, being caught at Coonamble, over two 
hundred miles away. The man who was shot died almost 
immediately. He proved to be a desperate character named 
Heather, who had committed a highway robbery only half 
an hour previously. At the inquest the jury returned a 
verdict of justifiable homicide, and Mr. Lowe afterwards had 
the gratification of receiving a gold medal from the Govern- 
ment for his act. 

The presentation of medals for resisting and capturing 
bushrangers, it may be noted here, was instituted in 1875. 
Gold medals were awarded to private individuals who had 
distinguished themselves, and silver ones to members of the 
constabulary. Each medal bore on one side the head of the 
Queen, surrounded by the words " The Colony of New South 
Wales " ; on the reverse was the Australian coat of arms, 
surmounting the recipient's name which was encircled by a 
floral wreath. Round this design was inscribed " Granted 
for gallant and faithful services." Six such gold medals 
were given to civilians, a seventh being presented to the 
widow of Captain McLerie, who was Inspector-General of 
Police between 1856 and 1874, in recognition of her husband's 
great services. The Mounted Police who were decorated 
were Sergeant John Middleton, who arrested Gardiner at 
Fogg's hut, as has been related, and Sergeant A. B. Walker, 
whose encounter with Captain Thunderbolt has yet to be 
told. A third silver medal was bestowed upon an innkeeper 
of Pine Ridge, named Beauvais, who had a thrilling fight 
with the bushranger Rutherford and killed his assailant. 

Of the numerous daring exploits which signalised Ben 
Hall's leadership of the " Gardiner gang " space will only 
permit brief enumeration. Scarcely a day went by without 


some outrage being reported. Next to the " sticking up " of 
Canowindra, perhaps the most notable feat was the raid 
upon Bathurst. This was the outcome of a remark made 
by a resident of that town whom Hall had robbed in open 
daylight in the bush. " You daren't come to Bathurst ! " 
said that gentleman. " You'll see," had been Hall's reply. 

No significance was apparently attached to this brief 
conversation, for no one in Bathurst dreamed that any bush- 
ranger would be bold enough to show his face in the town. 
But Hall fully intended to give the public another surprise. 
Several weeks later a raid was made on Caloola, a township 
on the old Lachlan road to the south of Bathurst, and, as 
was anticipated, a strong body of troopers under Superin- 
tendent Morrissett of Bathurst set out in pursuit of the gang. 
That it was merely a ruse to lure them out into the hills was 
not suspected by the police, yet such was the case. A few 
hours after they had left down came the bushrangers to carry 
out Hall's half-veiled threat. 

The raiders were five in number : Hall, Vane, Gilbert, 
O'Meally and Burke. Riding quietly into the town they 
visited one or two shops without exciting any comment, 
Vane being detached to watch the main road. At a jeweller's 
store, however, where they proceeded to take toll an alarm 
was given and the quartette mounted their horses and 
galloped off. There was now considerable commotion in 
that quarter of the town, and every trooper left in the 
barracks was hastily called into action. Never supposing 
for a moment that the gang would attempt another robbery 
in the town limits, the police dashed out along the roads 
leading to Caloola or Carcoar, and thus again favoured the 
bushrangers' movements. What Hall had done was to 
proceed to a hotel kept by one Alderman De Clouet, at the 

- 159 


far end of the town, and " stick up " the household. At this 
place some small booty was secured, but the raiders failed 
in their chief object, which was to secure a famous racehorse 
owned by the alderman. This animal had fortunately been 
removed from his former quarters. Eventually the four 
took the southern road and escaped to their retreat without 
meeting any of the parties who were then searching the 

Bathurst had a breathing space of two days. Then, with 
an audacity that amounted to bravado Hall and some of 
his followers appeared again on the outskirts of the town, 
plundering stores and creating a new reign of terror. This 
time the police parties from Bathurst were headed by Super- 
intendent Morrissett and the Inspector-General, Captain 
McLerie, who had come specially from Sydney to investigate 
matters in person. Owing to the methods of red tape that 
existed, by which individual action on the part of inferior 
officers was stifled, and owing to crass blundering by the 
leaders of the police, the bushrangers were allowed to get 
away when a sharp pursuit would undoubtedly have brought 
them to book. So marked was the lack of generalship that 
strong representations were made to the central authorities, 
and the Colonial Secretary, Mr. Charles Cowper, was moved 
to take action. 

It will be remembered that in 1862 the New South Wales 
legislature had passed a new Police Act, under which the 
whole of the force in the colony was brought under one 
central control, with headquarters at Sydney. The first 
Inspector-General, the supreme chief, was Captain McLerie. 
In theory this scheme was admirable, but in practice it was 
not justifying itself. The constant dependence on orders, 
the fear of reprimand through acting on one's own initiative, 



led to too much inaction, and what should have been a 
mobile force was robbed of its most important characteristic 
at the beginning. The fact could not be concealed that 
the Mounted Police of the day were in general unfit for 
the special duties they were called upon to perform. The 
force was disorganised to a great extent, and jealousies 
between officers were allowed to nullify whatever good there 
lay in the system. It was with a view to remedying these 
evils that the Inspector-General had himself gone into 
the country districts and undertaken actual police duty. 
But in the condition of things reform could not be instituted 
immediately. And while blunder after blunder occurred, 
and the authorities were forced to admit their failure to 
check the depredations of the bushrangers, public indigna- 
tion boiled over. 

" Now," says Mr. White, " the full force of the condem- 
natory blast was felt in Parliament, and the Government 
were at their wits' end to stand against it. They could not 
defend a force as inefficient as that under McLerie's command 
had proved itself to be, but Mr. Cowper would not admit 
that it was the system that was in fault. He was loyal to 
his offspring, but terribly indignant at the manner in which 
those in whose charge he had placed it were acting. A 
bitter correspondence ensued between Mr. Cowper and the 
Inspector-General, during which the Premier threatened 
at one time to ' set the regular police aside and organise 
another band under an entirely different arrangement/ and in 
a later letter added : * The Colonial Secretary is, however, 
unwilling suddenly to withdraw the Inspector- General, but 
intimates his intention of doing so if, within one month, 
Gilbert and party are not apprehended. It will then become 
a question for immediate determination what modification 

161 M 


of the police system shall be made to remedy the defects so 
loudly complained of.' ' 

These were strong words and they show how the gravity 
of the situation was realised at headquarters. Following 
upon these strictures the Government issued notices of 
rewards of 500 each for the apprehension of the five leading 
bushrangers, Hall, Gilbert, Vane, O'Meally and Burke. 
The last-named was a new recruit who had made himself 
conspicuous in several affairs. To fit the police more suit- 
ably for their work in the bush it was ordered that uniforms 
were to be discarded and the rough bushman's outfit adopted 
instead. The change from the dragoon equipment was a 
welcome one. Hitherto the troopers had been conspicuous 
objects wherever they went, making secrecy practically 
impossible. Their heavy tight-fitting uniforms, too, while 
smart in appearance, had not conduced to comfort. What 
was no less important, improved patterns of rifles and 
revolvers were now issued, and a better class of horse pro- 
vided. A final special instruction in the Government's 
minute was that the Mounted Police in future, in the area 
of operations, were to be devoted exclusively to hunting 
down bushrangers. They were to freely use the services of 
black trackers and be prepared for continuous work in the 

How these measures acted in quickening the energies of 
the police will be seen as the story of the bushrangers is 
followed. Rome was not built in a day, nor were these 
pests of society to be destroyed by a single sweep of the arm 
of the law. More stringent means had to be resorted to ere 
" robbery under arms " was stamped out in the colony and 
the authority of the police became paramount. 




Death of Lowry The Dunn's Plains affair Burke shot Surrender of 
Vane O'Meally at Goimbla station Sergeant Parry's death The 
Felons' Apprehension Act Shooting of Ben Hall Gilbert and Dunn 

Dan Morgan on the Southern Road Sergeant McGinnerty 
Another police tragedy Morgan at Peechalba station A Chinese 
bushranger The brothers Clarke Murder of the special constables 

Hunted down at last Sir Watkin Wynne, black tracker Captain 
Thunderbolt Trooper Walker A hand to hand fight Captain 
Melville in ; Victoria The " Moonlight " gang The Wantabadgery 
" sticking up." 

Gardiner gang were not to have an uninterrupted 
A career of success, although to the popular eye they 
seemed to be flaunting the police with impunity. In the 
spring of 1863 Frederick Lowry, one of its members, was 
cornered by Sergeant Stephenson and Trooper Herbst at 
Cook's Vale Creek, and after an exciting encounter shot 
down. The next to suffer was Burke, the scene of his 
dramatic ending being Dunn's Plains, near E/ockley. 

It had been arranged by Hall and Gilbert to make an 
attack upon Assistant Gold Commissioner Keightley, whose 
house was in that locality. One day in October, a week 
after the " sticking up " of Canowindra, the bushrangers rode 
out to the Plains. They were five in number, O'Meally, 
Vane and Burke accompanying the two leaders. In this 
instance they failed to take their victim by surprise. Mr. 

- 163- 


Keightley saw them coming, barred his door and windows, 
and returned the others' fire with such good effect that he 
accounted for one of the attacking party. Burke was seen 
to throw up his hands, crying out that he was " done for," 
and though he was not killed outright his wound soon 
proved to be mortal. 

This fight at Dunn's Plains fortunately was attended by 
no other tragedy. When the ammunition of the besieged 
became exhausted Mr. Keightley surrendered. The bush- 
rangers were incensed at the death of Burke, and at first 
were for shooting the Gold Commissioner in revenge, but in 
the end better persuasions prevailed. After a conference 
it was decided that his life should be spared on payment 
of a sum of 500. This system of ransoming was a new 
departure for the bushrangers. To obtain the money the 
exact amount, by the way, which Mr. Keightley would 
receive from the Government as a reward for shooting Burke 
his friend Dr. Peechey, an inmate of the house, rode to 
Bat hurst. He returned within the appointed time, and 
their prisoner having been released, the outlaws left the 

Immediately after this serious outrage the reward for 
the apprehension of Hall, Gilbert, O'Meally and Vane was 
raised in each case from 500 to 1,000. The^last-named 
member of the gang was shortly after brought to justice 
through the instrumentality of a priest, who induced him to 
surrender to the police before retribution overtook him. 
On being tried Vane was convicted of highway robbery under 
arms and was sentenced to a long term of penal servitude. 
That he chose a wise course was made evident by the fate 
of his companions, each of whom died a violent death. Had 
Vane continued with the gang there is little doubt but that 

164 - 


he would have been shot by the police or would have ended 
his days on the scaffold. 

O'Meally's death occurred at Goimbla Station, the owner 
of which, Mr. David Campbell, had incurred the animosity of 
the gang. This was in November of the same year. Making 
a descent upon the station to " pay out " Mr. Campbell for 
his former vigilance in joining search-parties to hunt them 
down, the bushrangers set fire to the barn and stables. They 
then prepared to attack the house, and Mrs. Campbell, while 
pluckily crossing a verandah to obtain a gun, had a narrow 
escape from being killed. It was the lady who from her 
point of vantage noted where the men were under cover 
in the stackyard and informed her husband. Mr. Campbell 
thereupon stalked them successfully and had the good 
fortune to shoot O'Meally, whose face he recognised in the 
glare of the flames. As the mounted police from Forbes, 
attracted by the light of the burning buildings, were now 
galloping up, the other bushrangers, Hall and Gilbert, made 
off without delay. It may be added that both Mr. Campbell 
and Mr. Keightley received gold medals from the Govern- 
ment for ridding the colony of two such ruffians. 

After the loss of their allies Ben Hall and Gilbert con- 
tinued their depredations by themselves with varying success 
until fresh recruits were attracted to them. Of these new 
bushrangers only one, Johnny Dunn, achieved any notoriety. 
But little time, indeed, remained for the gang to add to their 
unsavoury reputation. The mounted police were now 
pressing them close, drawing the net round the two principals. 

After one or two raids in which they secured some new 
mounts, well-known racehorses being lifted in each instance, 
there came a crime which set the seal on their fate. This was 
the shooting of Sergeant Parry. In November 1864, Hall, 



Gilbert and Dunn were out on the Southern Road at Black 
Springs, near Jugiong, where during one day they bailed up 
no fewer than fifty people of all classes. This assemblage was 
kept under close surveillance in the bush while the trio waited 
to hold up the mail from Albury, which was hourly expected. 
With the mail when it arrived came two mounted troopers, 
Sub-Inspector O'Neil and Sergeant Parry. Inside the 
coach were Mr. Ross, District Police Magistrate, and a 

The two mounted men received the first fire, and the 
sergeant was shot dead by Gilbert. Sub-Inspector O'Neil, 
using the coach as cover, kept up a spirited defence until his 
ammunition was expended, as also did Mr. Ross, but both 
were compelled to yield. They then joined the "camp," 
where the other prisoners were huddled together. Of the 
constable the less said the better. He had been ordered 
by Mr. Ross to get among the trees and open fire upon the 
bushrangers from safe cover. On seeing Parry fall and the 
others surrender he took to his heels. Happily for the 
credit of the Australian Mounted Police such cases of showing 
the white feather are few and far between. For every man 
who bolted in the face of danger they can show a hundred 
who stood their ground until killed or overcome. 

Weeks went by, with an almost daily record of highway 
robberies, now in the Goulburn district and now at Cano- 
windra or some outlying spot. Yet another policeman, 
Constable Nelson of Collector, was shot down in cold blood, 
the aggressor this time being Dunn. Thereafter the gang 
were heard of in their old haunts in the Lachlan, where 
many stations were raided to provide fresh horses. It was 
at this juncture, early in 1865, that the Government was 
driven to pass an extreme measure by which the bushrangers 



were proclaimed outlaws. This was the " Felons' Appre- 
hension Act." Hall, Gilbert and Dunn were now to be 
hunted like dogs ; it was in the power of any one to shoot 
them on sight. They were to be human vermin in the eyes 
of men. 

" If, after Proclamation by the Governor with the advice 
of the Executive Council of the fact of such adjudication 
shall have been published in the Gazette, and in one or more 
Sydney and one or more country newspapers, such outlaw 
shall afterwards be found at large armed, or there being 
reasonable grounds to believe that he is armed, it shall be 
lawful for any of her Majesty's subjects, whether a constable 
or not, and without being accountable for using of any deadly 
weapon in aid of such apprehension, whether its use be pre- 
ceded by a demand of surrender or not, to apprehend or 
take such outlaw alive or dead." In this clause of the 
second section was provided the necessary authority. The 
Act was to remain in force for a year from the date of its 

The Proclamation of outlawry and summons to surrender 
was issued shortly after. But knowing full well that their 
crimes of murder and robbery could only be expiated on the 
gallows, the bushrangers still defied the law. That they 
realised the game was nearly up is probable. The penalties 
against " bush telegraphs " and harbourers had been made so 
stringent as to alienate many of their sympathisers. Their 
hiding-places were no longer secure, and the large bodies of 
mounted police drafted into the western district kept them 
in a state of continual unrest. 

The first of the gang to fall into the hands of the police 
was Ben Hall. Sub-Inspector James Davidson, of the 
Lachlan detachment, got on the track of the bushrangers on 



the last day of April. Five days later the party found two 
horses hobbled in the scrub about twelve miles from Forbes. 
In the evening a man was seen to take the animals some little 
way off, and a black tracker was sent to follow his movements. 
The native located his whereabouts, returning to inform the 
police. Through the night the man's camp was watched, 
and at daybreak, when he appeared in the open, he was called 
upon to stand. It was Ben Hall. The hunted man turned 
to run for his life, but ere he could gain cover the police had 
fired, several bullets taking effect. He dropped to the 
ground and died within a few moments. 

After the death of their leader Gilbert and Dunn seem to 
have thought more of their safety than of committing 
robberies. But practically every former refuge was now 
closed to them. In their extremity the two fled to the hut 
of Dunn's grandfather, an old man named Kelly. Even 
here, however, there was no sanctuary. Betrayed to the 
police, they were caught like rats in a trap, and in the brief 
fight Gilbert was shot. His companion escaped in the 
scrub for the time, wounded in the leg, but only to wander 
about the country with the police ever on his heels. He was 
captured at last by Troopers McHale, Elliott and Hawthorne, 
of the Canonbar force, at a station to the north of the Western 
Road and not far distant from Dubbo. It began with a duel 
between McHale and the outlaw, in which both were seri- 
ously hurt, and it ended in Dunn being overcome and haled 
off to Dubbo barracks. From this temporary prison, where 
his wounds were attended to, he made a desperate effort 
to escape. But within a few hours he was recaptured, and 
in due time was sent to Sydney for trial. In the February 
following he was executed. 

The Western and Southern Roads, whereon the Gardiner 


gang practised their nefarious trade, saw many other bush- 
rangers during the same period. Of all who achieved any 
notoriety the most striking figure was undoubtedly Dan 
Morgan. He stands out prominently among the malefactors 
of that day by reason of his ferocity and innate cruelty ; 
there was no redeeming feature in his case to lessen the 
horror with which he was regarded. 

As soon as it was discovered that there was no gang to 
contend against, but that he was acting single-handed, or at 
the least in the company of only one other man, the police 
laid their plans for hunting him down . Beginning operations 
in 1862, in the Southern districts of New South Wales, 
Morgan soon had a long list of robberies to his credit. That 
he would not stop short of murder was to be expected, and the 
death of a lonely shepherd on a station was rightly ascribed 
to him. Later on there came an encounter with the mounted 
police near Tumberumba, with fatal results to one of the 
latter. Sergeant McGinnerty and Trooper Churchley were 
on the main road when they overtook Morgan ambling along. 
Not knowing whom he had to deal with, the sergeant passed 
him a civil " Good-day." The bushranger turned hi his 
saddle with an oath. " You're one of the traps looking for 
me, are you ? " he exclaimed, and drawing his revolver he 
shot the poor fellow through the breast. 

In the accounts of this occurrence one finds some dis- 
crepancies. According to one writer Morgan's horse was 
shot under him by McGinnerty and the two men came to 
hand-grips ; according to another the sergeant's riderless 
horse bolted into the bush at the side of the road, whither 
the bushranger followed. Trooper Churchley 's horse, it 
would appear, bolted likewise, and its rider finally turned 
back to the nearest township to obtain assistance. What- 



ever the actual details may have been, Sergeant McGinnerty 
was left dead on the road, another victim to a bushranger's 
vengeance, x while Morgan coolly proceeded to the station at 
Round Hill owned by Mr. Watson. 

Here his bloodthirsty mood evinced itself quickly. Hav- 
ing " stuck up " the station, he became incensed at a remark 
made by one of the hands and began shooting freely. A 
young man named Heriot was badly wounded in the leg 
as a result, and shortly after Morgan shot one of the over- 
seers, a Mr. McLean, in the back. Heriot in time recovered, 
though permanently crippled, but McLean succumbed to his 
injuries. This tragedy caused the police to redouble their 
efforts, and Superintendent Carne, of the south-western 
district, sent out several parties of troopers to search the 
country. Morgan's day of reckoning, however, had not yet 
come. He continued to terrorise that part of the colony 
for many months. 

Another member of the mounted police who met his 
death at the bushranger's hands was Sergeant Smyth. With 
three other troopers this officer took up Morgan's trail in the 
bush and tracked him as far as Kyamba. Here the party 
camped for the night. As they sat together in the little 
canvas tent with a lighted candle their shadows betrayed 
them to Morgan, who was close at hand. Firing through the 
tent at close range, he shot the sergeant. The constables 
jumped out to counter the attack, but the bushranger had 
disappeared and their search was futile. Smyth never 
recovered from his wounds, dying about a fortnight later. 

Morgan's undoing was the acceptance of a challenge that 
he dared not venture into Victoria. It had been boastfully 
asserted that if he crossed the border he would be captured 

1 See Appendix D for list of police killed and wounded by bushrangers. 


with little delay, the implication being that the Victorian 
police were capable of performing what evidently was beyond 
the power of the New South Wales force. If this boast 
were actually made it was certainly unjust, for no charge of 
ineptitude could be levelled against the police of the elder 
colony. For months they had worked unremittingly to 
track their quarry, and only the inferiority of their horses 
robbed them of success. Indeed, so close did they run the 
bushranger that fear of capture had not a little to do with 
his change of venue. 

So into Victoria went Morgan, crossing the Murray River 
at Albury. His first exploits met with no check. Two or 
three stations were robbed, and then he ventured upon 
what proved to be his last raid. On the 8th of April, 1865, 
only a few days after his appearance in this new field, 
he reached Peechalba Station, near Wangaratta, which 
was owned by Messrs McPherson and Rutherford. With 
revolver in hand he forced all the inmates four men and 
eight women into one room, where they ranged themselves 
against the wall. Then, his weapons on a table before him, 
Morgan sat down and gave instructions for tea to be made 
for him, the while he chatted freely with Mr. McPherson. 
At intervals Mrs. McPherson played to him on the piano. 

Among those who were thus bailed up was a servant 
named Alice Macdonald, a plucky and quick-witted girl. 
On the pretence that one of her mistress's children was crying 
for her, she insisted on leaving the room, and even went so 
far as to smack the bushranger's face when he objected. 
She had her way, however, Morgan being in the mood to 
admire her audacity. Once outside, the girl found one of 
the station men who had escaped notice in the round-up, 
and told him to ride off at once to Mr. Rutherford's house, a 



quarter of a mile away. She then returned to take her place 
in the line with the other prisoners. 

Mr. Rutherford, on receipt of the news, sent a messenger 
to Wangaratta to summon the mounted police. In the 
night a number of troopers surrounded the house, and, with 
a few civilian volunteers, waited anxiously for the dawn. 
Contrary to their fears Morgan did not work himself into a 
frenzy for bloodshed in the meantime. The night passed 
without incident. Soon after daylight, having partaken of 
breakfast, the bushranger prepared to leave, and bade Mr. 
McPherson get him the best horse in the stables. The 
station owner and three men started to fulfil this request, 
with Morgan following close in the rear. This gave the 
watchers behind the fences their opportunity. From his 
position a station hand, John Quinlan, easily covered the 
bushranger. He took careful aim, and Morgan dropped with 
a bullet through his shoulder. 

As he fell he cried out angrily : " Why didn't you 
challenge me ? You didn't give me a chance ! " 

" A lot of chance you gave those other fellows, Morgan," 
said one of those who now came forward to carry him into a 
wool shed close by. " Remember McGinnerty and Smyth ! " 

A few hours later the dreaded bushranger was dead, the 
news being quickly flashed to New South Wales where, as a 
matter of fact, the police were^still seeking him in the ranges. 
When the reward of 1,000 that had been offered for his 
death or capture was distributed, Quinlan received 300, 
Alice Macdonald 250, the remainder of the sum being 
divided among others who had taken a notable part in the 

Next in the list of New South Wales bushrangers come 
the brothers Clarke and Frederick Ward, alias " Captain 



Thunderbolt." In the late sixties these held high sway in 
the south and north respectively. That they had many 
imitators was only in the natural order of things, for no 
individual outlaw leapt into notoriety without starting a 
wave of bushranging in his own particular section of the 
country. Of the numbers thus attracted to " the road " 
there is no need to speak in detail ; they were mere high- 
way robbers, with little distinction between them. In this 
connection, however, it may be noted as a curious fact that 
this period witnessed the only case of a Chinaman turning 

Sam Poo, the individual in question, deserted the diggings 
at Mudgee to try his luck at " sticking up ' wayfarers. This 
promptly brought the police on his track, and he was con- 
fronted by Trooper Ward, of Coonabarabran. The latter, 
not crediting the Chinaman with boldness enough to fire, 
called on him to surrender, but Sam Poo had no intention 
of doing things by halves. He levelled his gun and shot 
the policeman. Ward died on the following day, to be 
avenged a fortnight later by Troopers Todd, Burns and 
Macmahon, who with the assistance of a black tracker ran 
the miscreant to earth in the scrub. After a sharp fight 
the Chinaman was overpowered and disarmed. He was 
executed some months later, at Bathurst. 

Thomas and John Clarke, of Manaro, near Braidwood, 
found the path to crime an easy one. They came of a 
criminal family, and were brought up in a criminal atmo- 
sphere. Beginning with commonplace " cattle duffing," they 
soon advanced to highway robbery. A third brother, James, 
was early suspected of complicity with Ben Hall's gang, and 
was eventually sentenced to a long term of penal servitude. 
Thanks to this turn of fate he probably saved his neck, for 

~ 173 


there is little reason to doubt that had he not been " lagged/' 
he would have joined his brothers in their career. 

To retail the several exploits of Thomas and John Clarke 
is beyond the compass of this chapter. Highway robbery 
and the " sticking up " of stations followed each other in quick 
succession, making a lengthy list of crimes. At times both 
men were associated with a relative named Connell and 
another man, Fletcher, but many of their deeds were per- 
formed without the aid of these supporters. Owing to 
their wide circle of friends, so many of whom were themselves 
not above suspicion, the Clarkes were constantly kept in- 
formed of the movements of the police, so that the latter were 
for a long time baffled in their endeavours to come to close 

In April of 1866 the murder of Constable Miles O'Grady, 
of Nerrigundah, brought sentence of outlawry upon Thomas 
Clarke and Connell. The four bushrangers had attempted 
to raid the township, when O'Grady and another trooper 
(the sole police in the place) sallied out to meet them. In 
the affray Fletcher was shot by O'Grady, but the constable 
paid dearly for his devotion to duty. As he and his mate 
fell back down the open street to seek cover he received a 
mortal wound from the elder Clarke's rifle. The bush- 
rangers then jumped on their horses and fled the town, 
leaving one of their number dead behind them. 

Recognising the great difficulties with which they had 
to contend, especially the prevalence of " bush telegraphs " 
and harbourers, the authorities at last determined on a bold 
plan to checkmate the outlaws. They accordingly enrolled 
as special constables four men who were peculiarly fitted for 
the work in hand. Two of them at least knew the country 
well, and one had had intimate dealings with the Clarke 

~ 174 


family. These four men were John Carrol, a warder in 
Darlinghurst Gaol, Sydney, and an ex- trooper ; Patrick 
Kennagh and ^Eneas McDonnell, both ex-warders ; and 
John Phegan. Under pretence of surveying the party com- 
menced to spy out the land in the neighbourhood of the 
Clarke homestead, but the disguise could not be long main- 
tained. The bushrangers, suspicious of the new-comers, 
attacked them one night, and thereafter Carrol and his 
companions openly avowed their business. 

For three months the special constables gave the gang no 
rest, their knowledge of the bush and the ranges making them 
formidable enemies. Then came the final tragedy. On a 
night in January of 1867, the little party was surprised in the 
scrub near the Jinden station,|in the Braidwood district, and 
every man was shot down. Their bodies were found some 
days after by a stockman, while rounding up cattle. The 
dastardly murder two of the poor fellows had been shot 
kneeling, having apparently surrendered aroused intense 
indignation and the Government immediately offered a re- 
ward of 5,000 for the capture of all concerned in the crime. 1 
Furthermore, an extra body of police was drafted into the 
district, so that the ground should be well covered. From 
Goulburn and other centres came Sub-Inspectors Brennan 
and Stephenson, old hands at bush work, and with them some 
picked black trackers. 

While at the end of 1866 the Clarke gang had increased in 
numbers to five or six, early in 1867 it was known to be re- 
duced to three men the two brothers and one William 
Scott. Other members had been killed or captured. By 

1 This was the highest amount offered by a State Government for the 
apprehension of bushrangers. In the case of the Kelly gang, for whose 
capture 8,000 was offered, both New South Wales and Victoria contributed 
to the reward. 

~ 175 ~ 


this time the bush was literally " alive with police " ; 
the hunted men were continually being driven to change 
their quarters. The day of the Clarkes and it had been 
a long day was nearing its end. Towards the close of 
April a party of mounted police consisting of Senior-Constable 
Wright, and Troopers Walsh, Lenehan, Wright and Egan, 
got upon the trail of the bushrangers. With them, also, was 
a famous black tracker, named Sir Watkin Wynne, through 
whose acuteness chiefly they had been so successful. 

Late on the evening of the 27th, a Saturday, they reached 
a hut in a paddock near the Jingera range, not far distant 
from where Carrol and the other special constables had been 
murdered. It was soon discovered that the wanted men 
were inside, further proof being afforded by the presence of 
two fine horses tethered nearby. These animals were now 
secured by Walsh, while the rest of the police took cover 
behind a haystack. At daybreak the Clarkes came out 
from the hut, and missing the horses guessed some danger 
was nigh. They immediately turned back to their shelter, 
but the police were in time to send a volley after them, wound- 
ing John Clarke. From the hut, the loose slabs of which pro- 
vided loopholes for their rifles, the brothers kept up a hot 
fire. Constable Walsh and Sir Watkin were now both hit, 
the latter in the arm. 1 The bushrangers, however, realised 
that the game was up, and when the troopers rushed the 
hut they surrendered and submitted to be handcuffed. The 
party then retraced their steps to Ballalaba, the nearest 
township, whence the prisoners were in time transferred 
to Braidwood Gaol. 

1 The black tracker's wound proved to be so severe as to necessitate the 
amputation of his arm. This operation he bore with the stoical indifference 
to pain that is associated with savage races. He was promoted to the 
rank of sergeant-major for his services in capturing the Clarkes, and in 
after years rendered much valuable assistance to the force. 




* *! I 


After being tried at the Central Criminal Court in 
Sydney, in May, the Clarkes were sentenced to death, and 
were executed on the 25th of the following month. Of 
their associates two had been shot dead by the police, and 
another, Tom Connell, sent to penal servitude for life. 
The fate of Scott was never satisfactorily cleared up, but it 
has always been assumed that he was murdered by the 
brothers, who perhaps feared that he would turn informer. 

The bushranger who masqueraded under the picturesque 
cognomen of " Captain Thunderbolt " was a native of 
Windsor, New South Wales, and an ex-convict who had 
escaped from Cockatoo Island. At the time Ward took to 
the road he was twenty-seven and, in addition to being a man 
of exceptional strength and daring, was a splendid horseman. 
With a mount of racehorse breed he was more than a match 
for any policeman who came in sight of him. What was 
almost of equal importance, he possessed an intimate 
knowledge of the hill country in which he made his re- 

The northern district was Thunderbolt's field of opera- 
tions. By " sticking up " the Warialda mail he soon gave no- 
tice that a new highwayman had appeared, and ere many days 
had elapsed several other robberies were put to his account. 
At various times subsequently Thunderbolt was aided by 
youths whom the excitement of bushranging drew from other 
employment. One of these, a mere boy named Thompson, 
was but sixteen when he was shot by the police in an en- 
counter. Of the same age, too, was young Mason, another 
of his companions. This lad was arrested early in his new 
career, but it was too late to save him from a life of crime. 
He was released from prison only to be sentenced again and 

177 N 


On several occasions during his raids Thunderbolt came 
into close contact with the mounted police. By his fine 
horsemanship, however, he was always able to show a clean 
pair of heels, so that for six years he pursued his calling 
without any serious check. The inevitable reckoning 
arrived in 1870. In May of that year he was engaged in 
" sticking up " a hostelry a few miles out of Uralla when 
intelligence of his whereabouts was conveyed to the police. 
The officer in charge at the township, Senior-Constable 
Mulhall, rode out to try conclusions with the bushranger, 
instructing Trooper Walker to follow as quickly as possible. 
Mulhall found Thunderbolt, as his informant had stated, 
at the inn, but on firing his revolver his horse took fright 
and bolted with him back along the road to Uralla. 

The rest of the story belongs to Trooper A. B. Walker. 
On meeting his comrade and learning that Thunderbolt with 
a mate were just ahead he pushed on and saw the two men 
part company. Judging rightly that the one who turned 
into the bush was the " Captain," Walker spurred after him, 
being met with a revolver bullet on the way. Mulhall, 
meanwhile, followed the other man, who took another direc- 
tion. Thunderbolt now made an attempt to regain the 
high road, but this move the trooper thwarted, driving his 
quarry down a gully leading to the Rocky River. Reach- 
ing a deep pool the bushranger left his horse and plunged 
into the water, evidently expecting his pursuer to follow 
him. But the trooper was no novice. He had no intention 
of allowing the other to outwit him by doubling back to 
his horse. He promptly shot the animal and then made a 
dash along the bank to a spot where he could cut off his man. 

Face to face across a narrow strip of water policeman and 
bushranger met for the final struggle. The spot was a wild 


and lonely one, the pool being surrounded by granite rocks, 
beyond which the thick scrub ran up the hillside. 

Thunderbolt was the first to speak. " Who the blazes 
are you ? " he asked, allowing for some modification of terms. 

" Never mind who I am," answered the trooper, who was 
in rough bush dress. " Put your hands up and surrender." 

" Are you a policeman ? " was the next question. 
' Yes, I am," said Walker, again calling on the other to 
yield himself prisoner. 

" Are you married ? " asked Thunderbolt. 

The trooper replied that he was, adding that he had 
considered that before he came there. 

" Then you had better [think of your family," said the 
bushranger, grimly. 

"I've thought of them," said Walker. " Now, will 
you surrender ? " 

" No, I won't," returned the other, " I'll die first ! " 

"It's you or I for it, then," cried Walker, and he forced 
his horse into the water. 

Thunderbolt at this drew his revolver and fired point 
blank at the trooper, but by good fortune his shots missed 
their mark, Walker's horse having stumbled as it went down 
the bank. The bushranger next rushed into the pool and 
the two men engaged in a fierce hand to hand tussle. As 
they swayed together in the water Walker got in a shot at 
close quarters, wounding his opponent severely and making 
him loosen his grip for the moment. Then, holding the 
empty weapon by the barrel, he clubbed the other over the 
head with it repeatedly, until Thunderbolt fell back and 
sank. Walker dismounted, dragged him up, and laid the 
bushranger on the bank, believing him to be already dead. 
He then returned to the inn for assistance, a party setting 



out some hours later to bring in the body. To every one's 
astonishment it had disappeared, but the wounded bush- 
ranger was found not far off in the bushes, whither he had 
dragged himself. Too weak to stand, he was carried in a 
cart to Uralla and there, almost immediately after arrival, 
he expired. 

For his gallantry in this encounter Trooper Walker 
gained instant promotion, besides receiving the substantial 
reward of 200 that had been offered by the authorities. 
He later rose to be Superintendent, being placed in charge 
of the Goulburn district, and is to-day the senior officer 
holding that rank. It may be added that the man seen in 
Thunderbolt's company proved to be a drover whom he 
had bailed up and whose horse he was trying at the moment 
that the police came upon the scene. His own steed, 
a thoroughbred, he had left standing by the inn. 

In the story of Frederic Ward's career, stained as it 
was with many black crimes, it is pleasing to find one re- 
deeming feature. For several years before his death he was 
accompanied and assisted by a half-caste woman to whom 
he was greatly attached. In all his vicissitudes he remained 
faithful to her, and when at last she fell ill he found a resting 
place for her at no little risk to himself. Such cases of grati- 
tude are rare in the records of bushranging. One recalls by 
way of contrast the fate of Howe's paramour, Black Mary, 
treacherously fired upon by the man for whom she had given 
up all. Ward's loyalty to his mistress may be placed un- 
grudgingly to his credit account. 

As has been seen New South Wales saw the birth of 
bushranging and suffered severely through it, but it must not 
be assumed that the other parts of Australia escaped being 
afflicted with the same pest. Victoria, Queensland, and 




South Australia, each had its own highwaymen of more or 
less fame, and something may be said of these gentry in deal- 
ing later with these colonies. In Victoria, particularly, 
bushranging came to be practised on a grand scale that 
eclipsed anything that had gone before ; the Kelly gang of 
the seventies put Gardiner and his contemporaries in the 
shade by the extent of their depredations. Before the 
Kellys, however, Victoria had Captain Melville and Power, 
to mention two of the best-known outlaws, and a few 
notes about the former may be given here. 

Frank McCallum, who posed to the world as " Captain 
Melville," was a runaway convict from Van Diemen's Land. 
In the " roaring fifties " he made a daring escape from the 
penal settlement to Victoria, where he mingled with the 
motley horde of miners at the Ballarat diggings. This was 
early in 1852. Before the year was out he had abandoned 
pick and shovel for " the road," taking a kindred spirit with 
him to work in the Geelong district. One of the daring 
escapades recorded of him at this time was the " sticking up " 
of a station on which were eighteen men. By force of arms 
Melville and his mate herded the whole of the company into 
a wool shed, whence they were summoned one by one to 
be tied to a fence. 

For some months after the colony had little to talk about 
save the bushranger's exploits. But his daring and bravado 
led to Melville's undoing before he could quite realise his 
ambition to become another Claude Duval. While in 
Geelong for a few days' recreation he was indiscreet enough 
to boast of his identity, and some one overhearing him 
gave information to the police. A party of troopers at 
once proceeded to the house where he was located. On the 
alarm being given Melville jumped from a window and ran for 



his life, eluding the police for the time. He was arrested 
soon after while endeavouring to steal a horse from a young 
man whom he met in the street, was promptly gaoled, and 
subsequently sentenced to thirty-two years' imprisonment. 
' While in the hulks at Williamstown, Melville headed a 
desperate attempt to escape, two warders being killed by the 
convicts. All the latter were recaptured and the leaders 
sentenced to death. For some technical reason the extreme 
penalty was not exacted, but Melville was determined not 
to endure longer the rigours of the chain gang. In No- 
vember 1856 he put an end to his life by strangling himself 
in his cell. In a brief memoir of this Victorian character 
it is recorded that during one prison term he whiled away the 
time by translating the Bible into an aboriginal dialect 
with which he was familiar.. In earlier days he had lived 
for a considerable period with a tribe in the interior. Of 
that portion of his life nothing is known, but what interest- 
ing story lay behind one may conjecture. 

With the capture of the " Moonlight " gang of bush- 
rangers we may bring this chapter of colonial history to a 
close. Captain Moonlight, the leader, was an Irishman 
curiously named Scott, who emigrated to Victoria via New 
Zealand. After some minor robberies he openly took to the 
highway with five associates, among whom were two youths, 
Rogan and Nesbit. The first operations of the gang were in 
Victoria, but in time they crossed the border into New 
South Wales. Their rashness, as was conversely the case 
with Morgan, cost them dearly. 

One November evening they proceeded to " stick up " the 
Macdonald station at Wantabadgery, on the Murrumbidgee 
River. Some twenty or more people were here kept prisoners 
while the bushrangers raided the place, and in the course 



of a few hours the number was increased to thirty-five as 
fresh victims were brought in. By a lucky chance one 
station hand, named Alexander Macdonald, got away on a 
horse and notified the Wagga Wagga police of what was 
happening. Four mounted men thereupon set off for 
Wantabadgery, where they found the gang still in posses- 
sion. The troopers now waited for a reinforcement of 
five men from Gundagai station and then advanced to the 

When the affray commenced, it is said, quite three hun- 
dred people from the surrounding district had assembled to 
witness the fighting. The first honours fell to the police, but 
soon afterwards Trooper Bowen was shot, almost at the 
moment that he wounded a second bushranger. A third 
man was hit by Trooper Carroll, and some little time later 
Moonlight and his companions surrendered. It was found 
that Nesbit had been shot dead, while another man was 
so badly hurt that he subsequently died. On the police 
side the one casualty was Trooper Bowen, whose wound 
proved mortal within a few days. 

Moonlight and Rogan were condemned to death and 
hung at Sydney, their surviving comrades being sent into 
penal servitude for life. Constable Carroll and the other 
troopers engaged in this notable capture were generously 
awarded sums ranging from 50 to 100, while poor Bowen 
was commemorated by a public monument. And so ended 
as sensational an encounter between police and bush- 
rangers as Australians had heard for many a long day, 
an encounter, indeed, that was not forgotten until the sud- 
den rise of the Kellys provided a new and all-absorbing 
topic of conversation. 



The Kelly Gang Constable Fitzpatrick attacked The tragedy at Stringy 
Bark Creek Troopers Kennedy, Scanlan and Lonergan shot Escape 
of Mclntyre The police hunt begins Hart and Byrne Proclamation 
of outlawry At Euroa Robbery of the bank The raid on Jerilderie 
" 8,000 Reward " Police officers in the field A chance missed 
Sub-Inspector O'Connor The black trackers Hoaxing the police 
Aaron Sherritt Superintendent Hare A trooper's pluck Murder 
of Sherritt The Kellys at Glenrowan Superintendent Sadleir 
Death of Byrne Ned Kelly captured Dan Kelly and Hart A Royal 

PERHAPS no more dramatic figures are to be found in 
the whole gallery of Australian bushrangers than 
Ned and Dan Kelly, with their associates, Steve Hart and 
Joe Byrne. Certainly none others have excited such wide- 
spread interest or inspired so many writers. Quite a litera- 
ture exists on the subject of their history, while to the present 
day the Kelly drama, with some meretricious ornamenta- 
tion, is enacted in all its terrible verisimilitude on stage and 
bioscope for the edification of a younger generation. The 
reason is not far to seek. For over two years the gang set 
at defiance the^government and police of two states, bringing 
off several daring and successful coups, and they went 
out at the last with something of a blaze of fireworks. In 
some quarters, unfortunately, there has been a tendency 
to glorify their exploits, to invest these common thieves and 
cut-throats with a false glamour of romance. Such a ten- 
dency is to be deplored. One does not willingly linger on 



the sordid details of their crimes, but from a police point of 
view it is important that the story of the Kellys should be 
told at some length. 

In 1878, when they first leapt into the public eye, the 
Kellys were well-known to the police as habitual thieves. 
It was a criminal family. The father had been a transported 
felon ; the three sons, Ned, James and Dan, were all expert 
cattle-duffers and horse " planters," and Ned was strongly 
suspected of association with the bushranger Power, who 
had been captured a few years back ; some of their relatives 
were also interested in the same lucrative industry. The 
" Kelly country," by which was meant the north-eastern 
part of Victoria in the vicinity of the Warby and Strathbogie 
ranges, was notoriously unsafe to travel through with stock. 
Cautious drovers went out of their way to avoid it. Many 
hundreds of horses were stolen at various times by the gang, 
and disposed of in the markets of Melbourne, Ballarat and 
Geelong, or at some town across the border. 

The second son, James, disappeared from the family in 
1876, when he fell into the clutches of the New South Wales 
police for highway robbery. He had previously been con- 
victed and was now sentenced to a term of ten years' im- 
prisonment. The youngest of the trio, Dan, was wanted two 
years later on no fewer than six charges of horse-stealing. 
According to instructions, Constable Fitzpatrick of Benalla 
proceeded to the Kellys' home at Greta to arrest the youth- 
ful criminal, who was then but seventeen. Ned Kelly, it 
may be said, was twenty-four. 

The policeman found the object of his quest without 
difficulty. Dan was at home and received the news of his 
arrest calmly. He pleaded, however, that he had been out 
all day without food, so Fitzpatrick consented to wait 


while he had a meal. In the meantime Mrs. Kelly asked to 
see the warrant. " I haven't one," said the constable, " but 
I've got a telegram which is just as good." Being invited 
to sit down at the table, Fitzpatrick went inside the house, 
or hut, for it was little better, and so played into their hands. 

" If my son Ned was here you wouldn't take Dan," 
said the mother. " He'd throw you out of the window." 

Dan suddenly got up. " Why, here is Ned," he ex- 
claimed. Then, as Fitzpatrick turned around to look, he 
flung himself on the constable, while Mrs. Kelly struck 
the latter on the helmet with a spade that was being used 
as a fire shovel. At the sound of the scuffle in rushed Ned 
Kelly and two other men, one of them his brother-in-law, 
William Skillian, and the other a man named Williams. 
Both the latter joined in the fray. Ned had a revolver 
in his hand, and with this he suddenly fired at Fitzpatrick 
wounding him in the wrist. Affecting to be sorry for this, 
because he had not recognised the policeman, whom he knew, 
Ned helped to extract the bullet and to bind up the wound. 
He then warned the other not to tell how the injury came 
about and eventually allowed him to ride back to Benalla. 

Fitzpatrick gave his version of the affair to his superior 
and on the next day Mrs. Kelly, Skillian and Williams were 
arrested. All three were sent to gaol for varying terms. 
Ned and Dan Kelly, however, were nowhere to be seen, and 
the troopers searched the neighbouring bush without avail. 
As a precautionary measure the police made several other 
arrests of persons suspected of complicity with the wanted 
men, in the hope of putting a check upon " bush telegraphs." 
But the Kelly s' friends were too numerous ; the police net 
was not thrown far enough. 

The Fitzpatrick incident occurred in April 1878. For 


six months, although a reward of 100 was offered for their 
capture, the two Kellys remained at large in the bush, 
during which period they were believed to have taken part 
in some highway robberies that were committed. Then, in 
October, the colony was startled by the news of a terrible 
tragedy in the Wombat Ranges, where the brothers, with 
two confederates, had pitched their camp. A police party 
of four men had been surprised by the gang and three of 
the troopers shot dead. 

It was from Trooper T. Mclntyre, the survivor, that the 
story of the affair was gleaned. With Sergeant Kennedy and 
Constables Scanlan and Lonergan, he had been sent out 
from Mansfield to search the ranges at the head of the King 
River. Another party, under Sergeant Steele, had set out 
on a similar expedition from Greta, great secrecy having 
been preserved in both cases, while there was also Detective 
Michael Ward, a very smart officer, at work in the Fern Hills. 
It is presumable, however, that the movements of the Mans- 
field police were observed and reported to the Kellys, for 
it was apparent afterwards that they had lain in ambush 
in readiness for their enemies. 

Sergeant Kennedy and his companions left the township 
on the 25th of October. Having travelled some twenty 
miles into the bush they camped on Stringy Bark Creek, with 
no suspicion that the gang was in the vicinity. It was be- 
lieved that the latter were many miles farther up the river. 
There was nothing to alarm them during the night. In 
the morning the sergeant took constable Scanlan with him 
to make a preliminary survey of the district, while Mclntyre 
and Lonergan stopped behind. At 5 p.m. the two troopers 
were busying themselves making tea when there came the 
peremptory summons, " Bail up ! Put up your hands ! " 

- 187 - 


Ned Kelly, Dan Kelly, and two other men, all mounted, were 
at the entrance to the clearing with rifles levelled and cover- 
ing them. Mclntyre had put down his revolver by the tent 
door, and he had no arms upon him. Lonergan's weapon 
was in his belt. Making a dash for a tree he was about to 
pull out the pistol when one of the rifles cracked, and he fell 

In obedience to Ned Kelly's command Mclntyre sur- 
rendered and submitted to be searched. He was then 
ordered on penalty of instant death to sit down and behave 
as if nothing had happened. On the arrival of the ser- 
geant and Scanlan he was to summon them to surrender, in 
which case Ned promised their lives should be spared. 
If, on their approach he attempted to warn them of danger, 
he might expect a bullet through his brain. The four bush- 
rangers, having collected all the police arms in the camp, 
withdrew behind the trees to await the coming of the 
others. Some minutes later Kennedy and Scanlan rode up. 
Mclntyre now rose up and carried out his instructions. 
" Sergeant," he said, " we are surrounded ! You had 
better surrender ! " 

Kennedy did not believe his ears. He gave a laugh and 
was placing his hand on his revolver when Ned Kelly sprang 
out into the open. " Put up your hands ! " he ordered. 
Both Kennedy and Scanlan jumped from their horses to 
take cover, but Kelly and his mates were too quick for them. 
Almost instantly Scanlan was shot down, while the sergeant 
fell to his knees wounded. The noise of the firing had so 
startled Kennedy's horse that it promptly bolted, and as 
it rushed past him Mclntyre flung himself on its back and 
rode at full gallop down the creek. Two or three shots 
followed him, but luckily none took effect. 



3?or this action in deserting his officer and seeking his 
own safety Mclntyre has been severely censured by some. 
But who shall blame him ? Who shall say that he 
would have acted otherwise in such circumstances ? The 
trooper was unarmed ; he had Ned Kelly's assurance that 
the sergeant's life would be spared if he surrendered and 
what other course was left open to Kennedy ? Furthermore, 
by seizing this chance to escape he might procure assistance, 
without which they were helpless. Right or wrong in his 
decision, Mclntyre soon put some distance between him 
and the bushrangers. Then his horse, which had been hit, 
failed him, and he crawled into a piece of scrub wherein he 
found a wombat hole. Here he hid for some time, hearing 
his baffled pursuers searching for him close by. While 
thus concealed the trooper wrote a hasty memorandum of 
what had occurred, tearing the leaves out of his pocket-book, 
and placing them hi the hole. After dark he started again 
on his perilous journey, to reach Mansfield early in the 
following afternoon. 

On learning the sad news Inspector Pewtress, the officer 
at Mansfield, set out for the scene with a strong party of 
troopers. They saw nothing of the Kellys, but they found 
the lifeless bodies of Lonergan and Scanlan. That of Ken- 
nedy was discovered some days later, a few hundred yards 
from the camp, with three bullet wounds in it. Over the 
face of the dead man was thrown a cloak, this having been 
done by Ned Kelly himself as a tribute to " the bravest 
man he had ever met." The leader of the bushrangers 
said afterwards that Kennedy had not given up until the 
last shot from his revolver had been fired. 

It was a sad reflection on the Government of the day that 
the police parties despatched in search of the gang were so 



poorly armed. The only two rifles Kennedy and his troopers 
carried had been furnished them by a Mansfield resident, 
who noticed how ill-equipped they were, and it was a well- 
known fact at the time that the bushrangers were all armed 
with rifles of an up-to-date pattern. The protest that was 
made against this laxity was well-deserved. As a police 
officer remarked to the writer, it was almost like sentencing 
a man to death to send him hunting bushrangers with only 
a revolver. 

Where the Kellys and their two companions, Steve Hart 
and Joe Byrne, had sought refuge no one knew no one 
except their sympathisers. All four men were now pro- 
claimed outlaws, for the Victorian Government, following 
the precedent of New South Wales, hastily passed an Out- 
lawry Bill, framed on similar lines to the Felons' Appre- 
hension Act. But in vain were the rewards for the mis- 
creants increased to 500 in each case ; in vain was the 
country searched and patrolled for miles around. No 
news of their whereabouts leaked out until early in Decem- 
ber, when a station at Faithfull's Creek, near Euroa, was 
" stuck up " by the gang. Mr. Macaulay, the manager, per- 
tinently asked Ned Kelly why he went to so much trouble 
to secure what he wanted. All the station hands had been 
collected and placed under lock and key, and a great show 
of force was made. " You can have everything you want 
without all this nonsense," he is reported to have said: 
" and as for horses, we've none here better than those you've 
got." To this Ned answered darkly that he had something 
else in view. What this purpose was the manager was soon 
to learn. The gang knew that by the shooting of the police 
officers in the Wombat Ranges they had " burnt their boats 
behind them, ' ' and they had resolved on making a daring coup. 



After a day's wait (four men who were returning to town 
having been added to the captives), Ned Kelly announced 
his intention to rob the bank at Euroa. He procured a 
cheque for 3 from Mr. Macaulay, and with this the two 
brothers and Hart proceeded to the township, three miles 
distant. One of their prisoners was a travelling hawker, 
of whose store of clothing they made use in order to dress 
for the part. They also took his cart and another light 
vehicle; Hart alone riding on horseback. The other member 
of the gang, Joe Byrne, was left in sole charge of the station. 
Before departing, however, the precaution was taken to 
cut the telegraph wires by the railway line, the posts being 
carried into the farm buildings to prevent communication 
being re-established easily. 

In Euroa the bushrangers found the bank already closed, 
but after some little pressure Mr. Scott, the manager, con- 
sented to cash the cheque. Once inside the building Ned 
Kelly flashed out his revolver with the order to " Bail up ! " 
and the manager, accountant and two clerks were quickly 
in his power. Steve Hart, entering the premises from the 
back, now joined his leader, to assist by securing all the 
firearms in the place. Since the gang's outbreak all the 
banks in the neighbouring townships had provided their 
employes with guns in the anticipation of a raid. 

From the Euroa bank the Kellys got in all over 1,900 
in cash and notes, together with some 30 oz. of gold dust. 
When he was satisfied that the haul was complete Ned 
gave orders that the entire household was to accompany 
him back to the station. The manager, his wife, children 
and servants, with the accountant and two clerks, were 
accordingly packed into the carts and Mr. Scott's own buggy, 
and as quickly as possible the procession started. On reach- 



ing the station they found all safe there, Byrne having only 
to report the capture of a telegraph repairer who had been 
sent up the line on the discovery of the breakdown. 

The next exploit of the gang was the " sticking up " of the 
bank at Jerilderie in New South Wales. This occurred in 
February 1879, only two months after the descent upon 
Euroa. The first move was made at midnight on the 9th, 
when the two constables in charge of the little police station 
on the outskirts of the town were roused up by an urgent 
summons. " There's a big row on down at Davidson's 
Hotel," shouted out this late caller, " you're wanted at 
once." Constables Devine and Richards tumbled out of 
bed, dressed and went out, to immediately fall into the 
hands of the Kellys. The two officers were then disarmed 
and locked up in their own watch-house, while Mrs. Devine 
and her children were shut up in another part of the building. 

All the following day, a Sunday, the outlaws all four 
being present lay low. To allay any suspicion Dan Kelly, 
Byrne and Hart put on police uniforms, but there was no 
real occasion for them to go abroad save once. This was 
when it was learnt that it was Mrs. De vine's custom to go 
into town early on the Sabbath morning to prepare the 
church for service. Ned Kelly decided that she must do 
this as usual, so the lady went about her duties with Byrne 
in attendance, returning in due course to the station. After- 
wards, during the afternoon, Byrne and Hart in police 
uniforms took a walk through the town with Constable 
Richards. The object was to learn the position of the prin- 
cipal buildings, etc. It was agreed that if they were ac- 
costed, the constable was to introduce them as new men 
sent to the town from headquarters. 

The actual raid was planned for Monday. At about 


10 a.m. the gang set out for the town, dressed as troopers, 
and accompanied by Constable Richards. In this fashion 
they passed down the main street, Hart and Byrne alone 
being on horseback, and, strange to say, excited little atten- 
tion. It was assumed by many that Richards was showing 
some friends of his round the town. Mr. Gill, the editor 
of a Jerilderie paper, met the party in the road and remarked 
to a companion that " those smart policemen would be the 
coves to send after the Kellys ! " The newspaper man was 
probably the first to scent any danger. He was then on 
his way to the police station, and on arrival there, he was 
told by Mrs. Devine to go away or he would be shot. " You 
will hear all about it when you go down the town," she 
added. Mr. Gill thereupon took counsel with Mr. Rankin, 
a well-known resident of Jerilderie, and the two with 
another man made their way towards the bank. But 
they were too late. The Kellys were already in possession, 
and of the three Gill alone managed to escape. 

From the statement of Mr. Living, the accountant of 
the bank, we learn how the " sticking up " was carried out. 
The gang had taken possession of the Royal Hotel, which 
backed on to the bank, and made use of it to enter the 
premises from the rear. Mr. Living turned round on his stool 
at the sound of footsteps in the passage, and found himself 
looking into the barrel of a revolver. " I'm Ned Kelly," 
was the brief exclamation, " keep quiet if you value your 

The intruder was in reality Byrne, but the effect was 
the same. Under the other's orders Mr. Living yielded up 
what arms there were in the room, and then with young 
Mackie, his assistant, was escorted to the hotel. There 
were several prisoners here guarded by Ned Kelly. Mr. 

193 ~ o 


Cox, the landlord, following instructions, was serving at 
the bar, so that no one coming in should suspect anything 
was wrong. 

Ned Kelly now demanded Mr. Tarleton, the bank man- 
ager, and Mr. Living went back to find him. Tarleton, 
who was in his bath, was incredulous at the news, but on 
joining the little company at the hotel he saw that there 
was no mistake. " Ned," says Mr. Boxall in his account 
of the affair, " had hitherto been walking round as a sort 
of inspector-general of the proceedings, and giving orders. 
He now entered the room and ordered drinks to be served 
all round. Then he made a speech in which he blamed 
Constable Fitzpatrick for all that had occurred. " I wasn't 
within a hundred miles of Greta when he was shot," he said, 
" and up to then I'd never killed a man in my life." He 
went on to say that he had stolen two hundred and eighty 
horses from Whitby's station, and had sold them at Baum- 
garten's. He took out a revolver and exclaimed : " This 
was Lonergan's ! I took it from him. The gun I shot 
him with was a crooked, worn-out thing, not worth picking 
up. I shot him because he threatened my mother and my 
sister if they refused to tell where I was." 

After this display Ned Kelly proceeded to get to business. 
From the bank safe and drawers were taken about 2,150, 
the gold being thrown into a bag which the local school- 
master was made to hold open. This gentleman then wrote 
out a notice at Kelly's dictation, giving the school-children 
a whole holiday in honour of the gang's visit to the town ! 
In the same braggadocio spirit the outlaws, after quitting 
the bank, swaggered about the town, being desirous to 
emulate the exploit of Hall and Gilbert at Canowindra. It 
was during this parade that Hart robbed a local clergyman, 



the Rev. J. B. Gribble, of a gold watch, which Ned Kelly 
insisted on Hart returning. . 

As the telegraph wires had been cut, there was no means 
of communicating with Conargo or Narrandera, the nearest 
townships. For the time, therefore, Jerilderie was com- 
pletely isolated. It remained thus at the mercy of the gang 
until the afternoon of Wednesday, the fourth day from 
their arrival. Then, with their booty packed on a police 
horse, the bushrangers rode off into the hills, each one 
taking a different route to render pursuit more difficult. 
They " stuck up " Mr. Mackie's station at Wannamurra en 
route, after which they quickly crossed the Murray and 
got back to their Victorian retreat. The principal hiding- 
place of the gang was revealed by Ned Kelly at the time of 
his trial. It was an old mining shaft, about twenty-five 
feet deep, at the bottom of which was a long drive affording 
them ample room. The shaft was close to the junction of 
three roads leading to Chilton, Yackandandah and Kiewa, 
and some ten or eleven miles from Beechworth. 

A big price was placed on the heads of the outlaws after 
this daring robbery. The Governments of New South 
Wales and Victoria each offered a reward of 3,000 for their 
capture, dead or alive, the banks in the two colonies con- 
tributing another 2,000. The blood-money thus totalled 
8,000, a sum large enough, one would think, to have led 
to betrayal. But the Kellys, Hart and Byrne, still lay 
safely hidden, being loyally served by their womenfolk. 
Kate Kelly, Ned's sister, and other girls more or less con- 
nected with the family supplied them with food, managing 
to elude observation with great dexterity. At the same time 
that a reward was offered, the New South Wales legislature 
re-introduced the Felons' Apprehension Act, making this 

195 ~ 


statute permanent and so comprehensive as to provide that 
any criminals outlawed in a neighbouring colony should be 
outlawed in New South Wales. Every man's hand in two 
colonies was now to be against the Kelly gang. 

In the hunt after the outlaws there were engaged several 
prominent police officials. From Melbourne came Super- 
intendent Francis Hare, and Assistant-Commissioner C. H. 
Nicholson of the Victorian force ; and from Queensland 
Sub-Inspector Stanhope O'Connor, with a party of five 
black trackers. Also in the field at various times were 
Superintendent Sadleir, the officer in charge of the north- 
eastern police district, and Captain Standish, the Commis- 
sioner of Police. It was an unfortunate thing for the colony 
that in the progress of operations a feeling of jealousy 
manifested itself between certain of these officers. Through 
an unwillingness to pull together amicably, and the conse- 
quent miscarriage of well-matured plans, the chase of the 
gang was undoubtedly unduly prolonged. That there 
was gross blundering cannot be gainsaid, and there was no 
little reason for the strictures that were passed upon the 

One notable chance of capture that was missed occurred 
early in the hunt. At One Mile Creek, near to the town- 
ship of Wangaratta, a woman one morning heard the sound 
of horses' feet, and looking out of her hut she saw four 
young fellows on horses that were evidently blown. These 
riders were identified as the Kelly gang, hard driven by 
the pursuit of a police party. The creek was swollen by 
the recent rains and to ordinary folk impassable, but Steve 
Hart, who knew it well, led his companions safely across, 
and they were last seen to be heading for the ranges. 

This occurrence was reported to the inspector at Wan- 


garatta, but with a dilatoriness that called for a stern repri- 
mand from the Inquiry subsequently held, he lost a good 
deal of valuable time in following up the trail. When a 
party of troopers at last set out they found a horse, which 
was recognised as being that of murdered Sergeant Ken- 
nedy, abandoned in a swamp. There was no doubt that 
they were on the right scent, but the supine officer ordered 
a return to barracks. The next day the search was again 
taken up ; the Kellys, however, were by this time well 
beyond reach. 

Of all those who pressed close upon their heels, the 
bushrangers most feared O'Connor's trackers. These blacks, 
Hero, Jack, Johnny, Jimmy and Barney by name, were 
men of exceptional skill who had been in the Queensland 
Native Mounted Police for some years. By their quick- 
ness in picking up and following a trail, the trackers kept 
the gang in a continual state of suspense. The Kellys more 
than once evinced their fear of these sleuthhounds, " little 
black devils," they called them, being far more anxious to 
shoot them than the troopers whom they could more easily 
hoodwink. It is difficult to understand therefore, except 
on the score of jealousy, why the Victorian Government 
should have been pressed, as was the case, to dispense with 
their services after a comparatively short trial. 

For several months more the effective aid rendered the 
band by their sympathisers paralysed the efforts of the 
police. The two Kelly girls, Kate and her married sister, 
Mrs. Skillian, were especially to the fore in this respect. 
Well aware that their movements were watched, they en- 
deavoured to hamper the police by hoaxing them whenever 
possible. On one occasion Mrs. Skillian was seen to leave 
the Kelly house at Greta at an early hour in the morning, 



and to ride off with a bulky package on her saddle. With 
all promptitude the troopers followed her stealthily into the 
Warby ranges, whither it was supposed she was conveying 
provisions to the outlaws. After a toilsome climb up a hill 
slope they were rewarded by seeing Mrs. Skillian seated on 
a log, derisively laughing at them. The bundle in her saddle 
proved to be nothing more than an old tablecloth. 

But every camp has its possible traitor, and in the case of 
the Kellys, the possibility became a certainty. One Aaron 
Sherritt, a confederate of the bushrangers and the more 
closely allied by reason of his attachment to Byrne's sister, 
was won over to the police side. By the help of this " out- 
rageous scoundrel," as Hare termed him, the Superintendent 
shadowed several known allies of the gang, and came very 
near to surprising his quarry. Among others, Mrs. Byrne's 
house, a solitary building in the hills, was kept under close 
observation, but a little carelessness on the part of the 
troopers revealed their proximity, and Hare had the mortifi- 
cation to see the old lady one day walk right into the police 

Of these days of toilsome plodding through the bush, 
of long journeys, and wakeful cold nights, during which they 
frequently lay out in the open without fires, Superintendent 
Hare writes feelingly. He gives the troopers under his 
command high praise for their pluck and endurance. 
Every man of them, he says, was " keen as mustard " to 
go for the Kellys, and ready at any moment, night or day, 
to up saddle and ride off in pursuit. As an instance of the 
personal bravery of the men, in striking contradiction to 
the charges of cowardice levelled at the force by outside 
critics, he cites the following. 

Information, apparently from a reliable source, had been 


received to the effect that the gang were lying hidden in 
a haystack near a certain house. The troopers surrounded 
the place, and when a large hole in the haystack was 
discovered, the Superintendent called for a volunteer to 
crawl inside. There was a chorus of " Let me go, sir ! " 
Each of the party wanted the honour. In the end Trooper 
Johnson was commissioned to undertake the task and, 
revolver in hand, he disappeared in the aperture. He came 
out a minute or two later, saying that he heard a noise inside, 
and that they had better keep " a sharp look-out all round." 
" I started him back," says Hare, " and told him to send 
the fellows out. He had hardly been away more than a 
few seconds when he came out again in a great hurry. " Lor, 
sir," he said, " there's an old sow in there with a lot of young 
ones, and she did go for me ! " 

It was a ludicrous ending to the episode, but one can 
pay a just tribute of praise to the trooper who went in not 
knowing what was before him, but fully expecting to meet 
four armed and desperate outlaws. 

That Aaron Sherritt ultimately would have given the 
Kellys into the hands of the police is possible, but all chance 
of this was destroyed by the sudden murder of the spy in 
June of 1880. Since the contretemps at Mrs. Byrne's hut 
Sherritt had incurred the suspicion of the gang. His rela- 
tions with Byrne's sister were broken off abruptly, and he 
felt that the shadow of death was over him. This foreknow- 
ledge of doom was soon to be realised. Sherritt was shot 
one night at the door of his house at Beechworth by Byrne, 
who with Dan Kelly had boldly ventured out from his lair. 

In this desire for revenge, the outlaws threw discretion 
to the winds. Their whereabouts were now proclaimed. 
Soon after their departure the intelligence was flashed along 



the wires from Benalla to Melbourne, and instant pre- 
parations were made to corner the band. Sub-Inspector 
O'Connor, who had retired from the search by order, was now 
commanded to proceed to the scene of the outrage with his 
black trackers, while Superintendent Hare (then in Mel- 
bourne) and other officers lost no time in following suit. 
In the meantime, Ned Kelly and Hart had taken steps to 
check pursuit by tearing up the railway line some distance 
from Glenrowan station, selecting a part where the track 
ran over a high embankment. The object was to derail any 
special train that the authorities might send up towards 

The railway gangers commandeered at point of pistol 
to perform this devilish work were afterwards kept prisoners 
at the station-master's house at Glenrowan, where many 
others were detained. When Byrne and Dan Kelly joined 
their companions, having ridden over from Beechworth, all 
the prisoners were removed to the hotel. Among them was 
the one constable that the little township possessed. To 
some extent every one was free to move about the place 
between the hotel and the station, but clear warning was 
given that any attempt at escape would be punished by 
immediate death. 

It was on a Saturday night that Sherritt had been killed. 
The next day, Sunday, was given up to preparing for the 
stand against the police which must inevitably come. All 
had been carefully arranged, Glenrowan having been chosen 
as the most suitable spot for their purpose. The only flaw 
in the bushrangers' scheme was the escape of one individual 
from the company under surveillance, and the consequent 
warning of the police. The hero of this incident was Mr. 
Curnow, the school-master at Glenrowan. He had gained 



Ned Kelly's confidence sufficiently to obtain permission 
to remove his family to his own home in the evening. This 
achieved, he set about his purpose of stopping the special 
train which was then on its way up the line. At great risk 
he took a candle, a red scarf and some matches, and ran 
down the railway track in the darkness to display his impro- 
vised danger signal. His efforts met with success. The 
train came to a standstill before the embankment was 
reached, and the wondering police officers, with Superin- 
tendent Hare at their head, jumped out to learn to their 
surprise that the outlaws were at Glenrowan instead of 

On the way up to the hotel the police were met by the 
town constable, Bracken, who had given his guards the 
slip. He, too, had some useful information to impart, and 
at a run the whole party dashed up to the hotel. The place 
was in darkness as they approached, but was not deserted. 
A volley blazed out from the verandah, one of the shots 
striking Superintendent Hare in the wrist and disabling 
him. The fire was returned, though necessarily somewhat at 
random, but with what effect could not be ascertained. Ned 
Kelly's voice, however, was heard above the din, taunting 
the police and bidding them " come on." 

The attack of the police was now checked by the know- 
ledge that a number of non-combatants, including women 
and children, were in the building. Superintendent Sadleir, 
who arrived by train with a reinforcement of troopers from 
Benalla, meanwhile assumed command in the absence of 
Superintendent Hare, the latter's wound proving to be more 
serious than was at first thought to be the case. The order 
to cease firing had been given before Mr. Hare left the scene, 
but not before some of the unfortunate people penned in 



the hotel had suffered. One or two were children, and one 
Mr. Reardon, a railway man whom Ned Kelly had compelled 
to help in destroying the line. This indiscriminate firing 
aroused intense indignation after the affair was over, the 
interval between Mr. Hare's departure and Mr. Sadleir's 
advent having left the attackers without a recognised com- 

Immediately the Superintendent realised the situation 
he called on the non-combatants in the hotel to come out, 
and several took advantage of the lull to escape. The Kellys, 
to do them justice, had no desire to keep the prisoners or in 
any way profit by their presence there. What fault there 
was lay with those of the police who in the excitement of 
the moment lost their heads, and failed to discriminate 
between the innocent and the guilty. 

One of the last volleys poured into the building shot Joe 
Byrne, just after the outlaw had come within an ace of 
hitting Sergeant O'Dwyer. A little while earlier Ned Kelly 
had left the house by the rear for some unknown reason, and 
he was seen returning through the trees. Sergeant Steele, 
who was posted near at hand at first thought that he was 
a blackfellow well known to the district, what was appar- 
ently a blanket over the man's shoulders, and some black 
strappings on his trousers, giving him a curious effect. As 
the bushranger came nearer he flung up this covering, which 
was actually a cape, and opened fire on the police with a 
revolver. The fusillade was returned, but to the troopers' 
amazement, Kelly seemed to bear a charmed life. Bullet 
after bullet struck him without bringing him down. This 
extraordinary situation lasted fully twenty minutes, the 
grotesque figure of the outlaw standing in the open defying 
every gun that was concentrated upon him. Then the secret 



of his immunity was understood. He was protected by a 
casing of armour, an iron helmet guarding his head and 
thick plates covering breast, sides and back. 1 

Sergeant Steele seized his opportunity and made a dash 
for Kelly, firing low to wound him in the legs. In this he 
was successful. Dropping to the ground the outlaw lay with 
his helmet fallen off, and was quickly disarmed. He was 
divested of his armour, and carried to the railway station 
to be medically attended prior to his removal to Benalla. 

Meanwhile, the hotel having been emptied of all its 
occupants save Dan Kelly and Hart, the attack was renewed. 
A proposal to carry the place by storm was negatived, in 
the fear that there would be too much loss of life. Super- 
intendent Sadleir now decided to wire for a field-piece from 
Melbourne and in response a 12-pounder Armstrong gun 
was actually despatched ; but before it came, the fight was 
brought to a finish. A police trooper volunteered to fire 
the building. This was effectually done, and when the hotel 
was entered the bodies of Dan Kelly and Steve Hart were 
found side by side, charred beyond recognition. It was 
known that they had been shot before the fire reached them, 
but whether by the police or by their own hands was not 
evident. The body of Byrne was removed from an out- 
building where it had been placed, being subsequently handed 
over to his friends for burial. 

With Ned Kelly's execution which followed upon his 
trial at Melbourne in November, the curtain fell upon the 
grim tragedy. Several prosecutions of persons implicated 

1 The armour worn by Ned Kelly, and similarly by the three other 
bushrangers, was made of J inch iron plates. The headpieces were quilted 
inside, this having been done, presumably, by one or other of the Kellys' 
womenfolk. Altogether each suit of mail must have weighed close on 100 



in the gang's doings were undertaken, but the authorities 
did not press their investigations very far home. The des- 
truction of the outlaws had put an end to bushranging in 
Victoria, for no other outbreak was to be feared. What 
remained was to count the cost, and this, it proved, was no 
light matter. The sum expended in the hunting down of 
the gang amounted to nearly 50,000. 

In 1881 a Royal Commission sat to inquire into the con- 
duct of the police hunt after the Kellys, and to consider the 
need for reforms in the administration. It was an exhaus- 
tive and searching inquiry, and its result was to exonerate 
several officers against whom charges of incompetency had 
been levelled. At the same time it awarded blame to those 
officials whom it considered responsible for the bungling 
that had been so apparent from the first. By its recom- 
mendation Captain Standish, the Commissioner, Assistant- 
Commissioner Nicholson, and Superintendent Hare were 
retired upon superannuation allowances. Certain other 
officers of high rank were censured for their want of esprit 
de corps, and drastic changes were made to ensure a better 
condition of things in the future. 

The Commission was not wholly destructive, however. 
It made many wise recommendations for the more efficient 
policing of the districts affected by the recent outbreak. 
Among other things it urged the immediate re-equipment 
of the troopers with better weapons and better horses than 
had been the case hitherto. These improvements were car- 
ried into effect in due course, and in time, as we shall see 
when considering the Victorian Mounted Police in more 
detail, the force was brought up to a high pitch of perfection. 




The Act of 1862 Initial difficulties Changes in uniform and equip- 
ment Captain M'Lerie, Inspector-General Bushranging suppressed 
Mr. Edmund Fosbery The " Angel " and Thurston case 
Superintendent Day An exciting encounter The Darling River mys- 
tery Ex-Superintendent Brennan "Waterloo Tom" Aboriginal 
murderers A long chase Mr. Thomas Garvin Mr. Day, Inspector- 
General Mounted Police of to-day Necessary qualifications 
An " Out-back " story Extraneous duties Equipment and pay. 

THE evolution of the New South Wales police force 
from the military guard of the old convict days 
has been traced in the foregoing pages. In 1862 the Police 
Act (25 Victoria, No. 16) brought about a revolution in 
methods, and it is from this date that the story of develop- 
ment may be taken up. By the new Act, as has been 
already noted, the previous laws relating to the police 
force of the colony were consolidated and amended. The 
Bench Constables, 1 the Sydney Police and the Mounted 
Patrols now ceased to exist as separate bodies : they 
became merged in the general organisation. Centralisa- 
tion was aimed at as the keynote of efficiency. To this 
end the colony was split up into divisions, each of which 
was controlled by a Superintendent. Under this officer 

1 These were constables controlled by the Bench of Magistrates, as 
at Goulburn in 1859, where Chief Constable McAlister was in charge. 
At some towns these were supplemented by night watchmen who peram- 
bulated the streets and proclaimed hourly in stentorian tones : " All's 
well ! " 



were inspectors and sub-inspectors, with the lesser ranks 
of senior-sergeants, sergeants, senior-constables, constables 
and supernumeraries. In all, foot and mounted, the force 
totalled about 800 men. 

Sir Charles Cowper, the Colonial Secretary, who estab- 
lished this new system, found his scheme subjected to a 
severe test during the troublous years of the great bush- 
ranging outbreak. Owing to the low strength of the force 
and its wide distribution, and owing also to the poverty of 
its equipment, many weak points were exposed. Public 
criticism was ever ready to denounce the ineffectiveness 
of the police to deal with lawlessness when offenders con- 
tinued to remain at large uncaptured, but such criticism 
was often hasty and ill-considered. There was much that 
might have been, and no doubt was, urged in defence. One 
especial difficulty experienced was in recruiting for the force. 
Natives of the colony were reluctant to join the police, 
who were not popular, while there was the compelling 
attraction of the rapidly expanding goldfields. The In- 
spector-General, Captain M'Lerie, was often obliged to 
fall back upon ex-sailors from the coast towns, and others 
who were hardly more suitable for the task in hand. For 
the mounted men, too, there were difficulties in the way 
of procuring horses that were equal to the strain imposed 
upon them by arduous bush work. 

The changes in uniform and equipment made in 1862 
must be noted. A trooper's outfit now comprised a blue 
cloth jumper, grey cloth riding pants, blue cloth overalls, 
a waterproof cape and cloak of military pattern, and Napo- 
leon boots. For bush service, as before, the mounted 
man's dress was less precise. Red tape, fortunately, did 
not prescribe any hard and fast regulations in this respect. 



One new feature that was universal, however, was the adop- 
tion of leather leggings ; before their introduction the 
trooper was wont to strap his trousers tight with basil. 

In the matter of arms we find the old muzzle-loading 
carbine yielding to the Terry rifle, while the cumbrous 
and often ineffective horse-pistol, with its percussion cap, 
was replaced by the Colt revolver. Swords were still carried 
for parade purposes and other special occasions. 

In his choice of the head of the re- organised Police 
Force the Colonial Secretary was exceptionally fortunate. 
Captain John M'Lerie was an English Army officer who 
had risen from the ranks and proved himself a capable 
disciplinarian. He had come out to Australia in 1844, 
the following year seeing him engaged in the Maori war in 
New Zealand. In 1847 he left the Army to become Pay- 
master and Adjutant of the Mounted Patrol, with head- 
quarters in Sydney. Thereafter his appointments were 
Principal Gaoler at Darlinghurst, Police Magistrate, Super- 
intendent of Police, and finally Inspector- General. For his 
lieutenant Captain M'Lerie had Mr. Edmund t Fosbery, 
who held the rank of Superintendent and Deputy Inspector- 
General. This officer did much towards increasing the 
efficiency of the force, and when in 1874 his chief died he 
succeeded naturally to the post. 

An important feature of the new system was the estab- 
lishment of mounted patrols which passed to and fro in the 
Colony at irregular intervals. No station owner could say 
when he might not be visited by one of these police parties, 
and this uncertainty did much to check the harbouring of 
criminals. On their way through the bush, too, the troopers 
took count of every one they met : suspicious characters 
were questioned and, if not found satisfactory, were sub- 



jected to closer examination. As the years went on and 
the sphere of police work widened, Sir Charles Cowper's 
scheme came successfully through its ordeal. The force 
grew not only in numbers but in ^usefulness. The mounted 
constable in the country districts made himself indispen- 
sable to both old and new settlers ; he was guide and friend, 
in addition to being guardian of the peace, and his abilities 
in this pioneer work are deserving of full recognition. 

Before Captain M'Lerie's death bushranging had been 
suppressed in New South Wales. Such cases as did occur 
after the reign of the Clarkes and " Thunderbolt " were 
sporadic and of brief duration. Interest in this peculiar 
phase of crime was diverted to the neighbouring colony of 
Victoria, where the notorious Kellys were keeping Captain 
Standish's troopers busy. The depredations of cattle- 
duffers and horse-planters, too, were considerably checked. 
The mounted police were prompt in running down any 
gangs that engaged in this nefarious traffic, and the severe 
sentences imposed on such offenders as were brought to 
justice had a salutary effect. 

Under the rule of Mr. (now the Hon.) Edmund Fosbery 
the New South Wales Police gained much in prestige. The 
new Inspector-General was a man of considerable adminis- 
trative ability. The policing of outlying districts was 
taken in hand thoroughly, and people quickly recognised 
that a new order of things had set in. What was of no less 
importance, the status of a mounted constable greatly 
improved. The force had survived the searching criticism 
to which it was subjected in former years ; it had proved 
itself under the most severe tests. To become the wearer 
of the blue uniform was no longer to lose caste. There was 
now no lack of applicants, and with the opportunity for 






selection the Inspector-General could report that the type of 
man who joined was better all round than it had ever been. 

In the calendar of crime of this period one finds nothing 
of the magnitude of the great escort robbery, but several 
minor affairs are worth chronicling for various reasons. 
Take the case of the " Angel/' a very promising desperado. 
The story of his bringing to book has a dramatic touch. 
It is of particular interest, too, inasmuch as it concerns 
an official high up in the police service. 

The " Angel," to those who were interested in him pro- 
fessionally, was Thomas Hobson, expert cattle thief, aged 
twenty-seven. Early in 1885 he was arrested by Senior- 
Sergeant (afterwards Sub-Inspector) Boyd at Coonamble, 
which is on the Castlereagh River, in northern New 
South Wales. After being convicted and sentenced to a 
term of penal servitude he was transferred to Bathurst. 
This stronghold impressed the " Angel " unfavourably 
when he cast about for means to escape, and he set his wits 
to work. In the prison, as it happened, was one William 
White, alias Thurston, a young man of his acquaintance 
whose branch of crime was forgery. Thurston was serving 
a term of seven years. To this man the " Angel " repre- 
sented that if they could get back to Coonamble on some 
pretext they might break gaol easily. The lock-up there 
was none too strong. In accordance with this plan he 
made out a petition in which he urged that Thurston was 
an invaluable witness in his defence, and that new evidence 
was forthcoming that would clear him of the charge of 
cattle-stealing on which he was convicted. 

The plausible manner in which the petition was worded 
persuaded the authorities that the case ought to be reopened. 
In due course a new trial was ordered and the two men were 

209 P 


sent to Coonamble. The lock-up had only two or three cells. 
As the" Angel " had anticipated, he and Thurston were 
placed together. This simplified matters greatly. Their 
plans were carefully laid and on the morning after their 
arrival the warder who entered the cell was knocked down 
and stunned. His revolver was seized by the " Angel," who 
waited for the coming of the gaoler, Constable Mitchell. 
This officer no sooner showed his face at the door than he 
was shot dead, his body being dragged in and laid along- 
side that of the unconscious warder. Then the two, 
prisoners no longer, locked the cell door behind them, armed 
themselves with guns and revolvers, and took to the high road. 

The next that was heard of the " Angel " and his partner 
was that they were engaged in bushranging on a small scale 
in the Warrumbool and Wollar Mountains. Some stores 
and isolated settlers' houses were reported to have been 
"stuck up." News of this came to Gulgong, and a police 
party of three Senior-Sergeant (afterwards Inspector) 
Burns, Constable McKinley and Constable Day went in 
pursuit of the fugitives. It was now April, about four 
weeks after the escape from Coonamble. 

In the hill country the mounted police received special 
information which led them to believe that their quest 
would soon be ended. Two men, answering to the des- 
cription of the " Angel " and Thurston, had visited the store 
of a Mr. Charles Stuart, at Green Gate, near Mudgee. There 
they had purchased a few goods, paying for them with a 
pound note. By this means, it was surmised, they had 
learned where the old man kept his money, as he had had to 
go below to the cellar for the change. It was a natural 
assumption that the two would return ere long to rob 
the store, and the police prepared to lie in wait for them. 



Before nightfall Sergeant Burns and McKinley concealed 
themselves in a room at the back, a small window giving 
them a view of the store front. Constable Day's post was 
behind the counter of the store, where he crouched, revolver 
in hand, to await events. 

Three hours passed without any cause for alarm, and 
then the watchers heard the sound of horses' feet clattering 
over a small wooden bridge that spanned the river close 
by. The riders went by the store without drawing rein. 
They had a call to make before the raid actually began. 
Old Mr. Stuart was to be routed out of bed and forced to 
accompany them, half-dressed, to unfasten his money- 
bags. Their returning footsteps told the police that the 
moment was at hand. Then the three entered, the store- 
keeper holding a lighted candle in his hand, and the door 
closed to behind them. 

Immediately Burns' sharp summons rang out : " Hands 
up ! You'd better surrender quietly ! " And the " Angel " 
and Thurston found themselves looking into the barrel 
of the sergeant's rifle, levelled at them through the little 
window. With an oath the former turned on the old store- 
keeper, believing that he had led them into a trap, and shot 
him through the head. At the same moment Burns fired 
and Thurston dropped dead to the floor. 

Day now jumped up from his hiding-place to face the 
" Angel." It was close quarters, only a few feet separating 
the two. The candle, flickering on the floor, gave little light. 
The trooper pulled first, his shot hitting the other in the 
shoulder. The " Angel's " bullet went wide, for as he fired 
he half fell. Recovering himself he made a dash for the 
door, but Thurston's body had rolled against it, blocking 
the way. Then Day leapt over the counter to make a 



plucky attempt to capture his man, and in so doing had 
the narrowest shave that he ever experienced in his career. 
The " Angel " turned in a flash and fired again, but only 
once more to miss. Darkness and the excitement of the 
moment combined to favour the trooper's escape. 

A second shot from Day's revolver found its mark, but 
wounded though he was the " Angel " succeeded in breaking 
down the door and gaining the open. He did not go far, 
however. The constable, who followed, saw him fall to the 
ground, and his capture was effected without any further 
resistance. That was the end of the " Angel." He cheated 
the gallows by dying the next day from the wounds he had 
received. His captor, Constable Day, had the satisfaction 
of being warmly commended for his gallantry and of gaining 
his first step to promotion. Thereafter the young officer's 
rise through the various grades was rapid ; at the present 
time he holds the supreme rank of Inspector-General. 
Sergeant Burns, for his share in this notable exploit, was 
made a sub-inspector. 

A case that puzzled the police for some time was that 
of Tommy Moore, hawker and murderer. If you were to 
ask Mr. Day about it he would probably tell you that it 
was certainly one of the hardest nuts he had to crack. 
The affair was wrapped in mystery from the outset. There 
were no clues to work upon for some weeks, and even then 
such discovery as was made seemed to offer little towards 
elucidation. The attention of the police was first engaged 
by a report that six mutilated bodies had been found in the 
bush in the district of the Darling River. Owing to several 
reasons these were unrecognisable, and nothing was found in 
the vicinity to point to the perpetrator of these terrible deeds. 

By special instructions from headquarters, Day went out 


to see what he could do to unravel the mystery. He visited 
Cootamundra, Yarrabool, Forbes and other places where 
the ghastly finds had been made, but for some time had to 
own himself baffled. Then he came upon the traces of a 
camp in the bush by the river. Inquiry revealed to him 
that the crew of a small steamer that plied up and down the 
Darling had seen a man " a small man " punting across 
while the water was low. With this slender information to 
work upon Day searched the river banks diligently, and 
was at last rewarded by finding a pair of sculls hidden in a 
clump of reeds. Later on he discovered a lightly-built boat 
filled with sand and sunk in the stream. He felt now that 
he was on the right track. 

By long and careful investigation the officer traced the 
little boat to Adelaide, where he learned that it had been 
sold to a man named Edward Smith, who made a living by 
catching and selling fish to the shearers on the Darling 
stations. In this way a careful hawker could accumulate 
a fair-sized cheque. The man in question answered to 
the description of the " small man " passed on the river. 
Furthermore, he had been seen in the company of another 
hawker, a general peddler, and Day now set himself to 
follow this man. It was a long and difficult hunt, but in the 
end successful. Tommy Moore was properly taken aback 
when he was arrested in the market-place of Bourke, where 
he was laying in a fresh outfit of goods. There was no 
mistake made, though Moore swore stoutly to his innocence. 
A cheque stolen from the murdered vendor of fish, with 
other damning pieces of evidence, were traced to him, and 
enough was discovered to assure the police that all of the 
six dead men had met their fate at his hands. So after due 
trial Moore was found guilty and was hanged. 



Ex-Superintendent Martin Brennan, to whom reference 
has been made already, is another noted thief-catcher who 
has figured in some memorable affairs. An Irishman, like so 
many of the Mounted Police, he joined the service as far 
back as 1859, when he became a member of the Southern 
Patrol under Captain Zouch. He was the first non-military 
man to be enrolled in the patrol police. Brennan 's earlier 
years were spent in gold escort duty and in police work in 
and around the diggings, but opportunities were forthcoming 
for him to display his abilities in hunting down criminals. 
In 1870, while he was at the Araluen goldfields, he captured 
Duchief (alias Etienne), one of the three armed highwaymen 
who murdered Daniel Crotty, the mail-carrier of Marengo. 
Two years later he was in charge of the Queanbegan district, 
and here occurred a somewhat exciting episode. 

A notorious character named Robinson, who was popu- 
larly known as " Waterloo Tom," killed a poor shepherd 
at the latter's hut on the Murrumbidgee. Sergeant Brennan 
(as he then was) set off with a trooper to arrest the 
ruffian. They expected trouble, for Tom was a remarkably 
good shot and was not likely to yield without a fight. And 
so it fell out. When he spied the police on his trail he 
threw himself on his back, his favourite position for shoot- 
ing, and emptied the contents of his gun at his pursuers. 
As his weapon was loaded with slug shot, and the range was 
fairly long, not much damage was done. The troopers' 
horses were hit, but not badly. 

Brennan saw that the other would have to reload, and 
took his chance of capturing his man before this was accom- 
plished. It was just a chance that he could reach him in 
time. Putting spurs to his horse he galloped up, threw 
himself off, and got his hands on Tom at the moment that 



the latter was putting the cap on his gun. This weapon, 
by the way, was an old-fashioned type and of the extra- 
ordinary length of six feet. 

" Another few seconds," said Waterloo Tom grimly, 
" and you'd have known what a good shot I am ! " 

In July, 1900, the Dubbo district of New South Wales 
was the scene of some atrocious murders committed by 
aborigines. There were four natives concerned, three men 
named Jacky Underwood, Jimmy and Joe Governor, and 
a girl, Ethel Governor. At Breelong they massacred a 
selector's entire family, after which they appeared at Gul- 
gong, Wollar, and other places, shooting and spearing 
several people. The mounted police sent in search of 
these criminals were led by Superintendent Thomas Garvin, 
who kept up a hot chase for some twelve weeks. Two of 
the blacks, the Governors, were ex-police trackers, and 
thus up to all the tactics that would be adopted for their 

For continuity of pursuit this man-hunt equalled 
anything that had been done in the criminal history of the 
State. By throwing out advance parties on the right and 
left wings (several civilians, smart bushmen, had now joined 
in the chase), the police finally drove their quarry into a 
corner. Joe Governor was caught up with and shot dead 
at the end of October. His brother, Jimmy, was captured 
at Dingo Creek, on the Manning River, after an encounter in 
which he was wounded, and with Jacky Underwood was 
subsequently executed. The girl, who was less culpable, 
received a sentence of imprisonment. 

Superintendent Garvin three years later relinquished 
the command of the Northern District to take up the duties 
of Inspector-General, having been appointed to that office 



on the retirement of Mr. Fosbery. 1 That he has proved 
himself to be a capable chief of police is shown by the present 
high state of efficiency in the service. To-day the New 
South Wales troopers are among the smartest in the Com- 
monwealth, while the organisation of the force leaves 
nothing to be desired. In 1909 Mr. Garvin was created a 
Companion of the Imperial Service Order by his late 
Majesty King Edward VII. 

At the end of last year a notable change in the adminis- 
tration took place. Mr. Garvin retired from the force 
on a pension, and was succeeded by Mr. Ernest D&y, who, 
although a junior Superintendent, had been acting as 
Deputy Inspector-General for some time. This appointment 
has afforded universal satisfaction, for the new chief has 
given ample evidence that he is possessed of the right 
qualifications for this onerous position. 

We may turn now to consider the mounted police of 
the State as they are at the present time, under the same 
Police Act of 1862 that effected their establishment. Ex- 
clusive of the officers superintendents, inspectors, and sub- 
inspectors, who have charge of both mounted and foot police 
the troopers number 718. Of these thirty-five are at the 
depot in Sydney, on duty at the Inspector-General's office, 
acting as orderlies to his Excellency the State Governor, or 
undergoing a course of instruction ; the remainder are dis- 
tributed over the nine country districts into which the 
State is divided. 2 If we reckon in the above-mentioned 

1 Mr. Fosbery on leaving the service in December, 1903, received the 
distinction of C.M.G. and a seat in the Legislative Council. 

2 The distribution of the force is as follows, the headquarters being 
printed in brackets : Northern (Armidale), 88 ; Southern (Goulburn), 
112; Eastern (depot at Redfern, Sydney), 90 ; Western (Bathurst), 
122 ; Bourke (Bourke), 54 ; North-Eastern (West Maitland), 78 ; North- 



officers the full total is 780. To these must be added sixty- 
six native trackers who are employed almost exclusively 
with the mounted men. 

The metropolitan force is a foot service, and comprises 
all told 1,010; the country force is a mounted and foot 
service, and comprises 1,425, being an excess of 415 men 
over the metropolitan district. The latter has 104 police 
stations, while the country has 551. 

The Police Depot was formerly at Belmore Barracks, 
Sydney, but has been transferred to new quarters at Red- 
fern. Here are commodious buildings covering an area of 
nearly four acres, with drill ground, armoury, stables and 
manege. On being drafted here recruits for the mounted 
branch commence their training under Superintendent Sykes 
and Inspector J. S. Clarke, the latter, who formerly served in 
the 17th Lancers, being well qualified to act as drill-master 
and riding-instructor. For the mounted police, who must all 
be picked men, the standard is as follows : Age, from 21 
to 30; height, 5 feet 8 inches; weight, 11 stone; chest 
measurement, 38 inches. Every candidate has to pass a 
severe educational test in dictation and arithmetic, in 
addition to the medical examination, and it is indispensable 
that he should be able to swim. 

The best type of recruit is, of course, the man from 
the country districts, who is generally a good horseman 
and possessed of special knowledge of cattle and sheep. 
The town-bred policeman, as a rule, is an indifferent 
rider. All, however, are tried after the initial selection 
has been made, and their certificates are placed before 
the Inspector-General. Those who survive this stage 

Western (Tamworth), 59; South- Western (Deniliquin), 64; Murray 
(Albury), 51. 



then pass on to the manege, where their education begins 
in earnest. The course of military equitation which is 
now undergone includes " physical, sword, revolver, and 
carbine exercise, on foot and horseback, formation drill; 
such as increasing and diminishing the front, the aids in 
horsemanship, right and left closing, the proper applications 
of the bridle, hand and legs, which enable the riders to 
direct and determine the turnings and paces of their mounts, 
make them obey the bits, and at the same time have 
freedom of the right hand to use their swords or other 
arms." Mounted recruits are also regularly exercised in 
marches of eight or ten miles in military fashion, and sent 
out in patrol parties under an experienced leader. 

So much for the riding-school side of the mounted 
recruit's life. From the farrier and the veterinary surgeon 
he next learns how to take care of his steed while out in the 
bush, how to shoe it and how to apply remedies for simple 
ailments. The horses supplied to the troopers, it may be 
said here, are of a very high standard. Bred from good 
strains and raised in the State, they can compare with any in 
the country. A fine specimen of the breed is depicted in the 
illustration opposite page 216. 

In the class-rooms of the depot the would-be mounted 
policeman is instructed in the various other branches of his 
work. He is taught how to take finger-prints, a most 
important feature of the system ; and how to discover 
finger impressions on smooth boards, glass, or other material. 
Then come lessons in matters relating to police duties, 
necessitating the study of the " Police Rules," and the 
various Acts referring to vagrancy, police offences, crimes, 
etc. To acquire proficiency in framing reports he practises 
drawing up accounts of cases given in the official Gazette^ 



while he further gains knowledge of the conduct of police 
cases by attending the courts. 

As the trooper stationed in a country district must be 
ready to meet any emergency that may arise he can hardly 
know too much. Such useful qualifications as a know- 
ledge of ambulance work and first aid to the injured come 
within his scope. Special instruction in ^this direction is 
given to every man, and one finds many notes in the police 
files testifying to the value of such teaching. " Constable 
Campbell of Bobadah," we read in one instance, " is de- 
serving of commendation for his humane action in assisting 
in a case of snake-bite, some distance out of the township, 
in the absence of medical advice. The constable, on hear- 
ing that a lad had been bitten, hastened to the scene, tied 
ligatures around the limb, scarified and sucked the wound, 
and did everything else possible, with the satisfactory re- 
sult that the boy recovered." 

The mounted policeman " out back " is often Clerk of 
the Petty Sessions and the stand-by of the local magistrate. 
More often than not he knows the statutes better than the 
entire bench, and his timely word helps to preserve the 
majesty of the law. They tell a good story of a local justice 
of the peace who was a big station owner in the north and 
a man noted for his fiery temper as for his lack of education. 
Riding round his domain one day with a trooper who had 
paid him a call, he made a terrible discovery. A swagman 
had camped on his sheep run and killed a ewe for his dinner. 
What was even worse, he had broken down the wire fence, 
allowing some hundreds of sheep to stray. 

Mr. Brown, as we will call him, fixed the delinquent 
with blazing eyes. In a country where every wayfarer, 
however poor, may reckon upon hospitality, the commission 



of such a crime as sheep-killing is regarded as a most 
heinous offence. When he had found words to express his 
wrath he spluttered out 

" Do ye see this, Beresford ! The unmentionable black- 
guard ! We'll make an example of him, Beresford." 

Beresford (it was not his name, really, but never mind) 
said, " Yes, sir," with stern significance. 

" It's worse than murder, Beresford ! " 

" Yes, sir." 

" Am I not a magistrate, Beresford ? " 

" Yes, sir." 

" The law must be upheld, eh ? " 

" Yes, sir." 

" Well, then, I'll Til hang him for it, Beresford," cried 
the irate squatter. " I will I'll Jiang him ! " 

" Yes, sir," said the imperturbable trooper. And the 
wretched swagman, conscious of the enormity of his crime 
and by this time in abject fear, grovelled on the ground. 

" I'm in my rights, Beresford, and the evidence is con- 
clusive. We've caught him red-handed." Mr. Brown 
paused for another explosion of wrath, which incidentally 
brought him under the Act directed against the use of 
strong language, and proceeded to address the " prisoner 
at the bar." Having summed up judicially he passed 
sentence of death in his most impressive manner, and Beres- 
ford, uncovering, wound up with " God save the King ! " 

Pending his execution the miserable and well-frightened 
prisoner spent the night in bonds in a stable. The next 
morning (much against Mr. Brown's will, no doubt) the 
trooper carried him off to the nearest township, where in 
due course a less severe sentence was imposed upon him 
by a properly constituted bench. 



Whether or no the above story is apocryphal, the allu- 
sion to troopers acting as Clerks of Petty Sessions reminds 
us of the many extraneous duties that are constantly being 
performed by the mounted police. The following note on a 
year's work, which occurs in a recent report of the Inspector- 
General, is illuminating. He says : 

" The inquiries made and the work performed by the 
police for other departments of the public service continue 
to increase. Six hundred and twenty-one (621) communica- 
tions were received from the Department of Public Health 
for transmission to the police in country districts, in addi- 
tion to a number forwarded direct to the Metropolitan 
Superintendent of Police. Proceedings have been conducted 
by the police, on behalf of the Department of Public Instruc- 
tion, in four hundred and sixty-eight (468) cases under the 
compulsory clauses of the Education Act, for neglect to 
send children to school, etc. Inquiries have been conducted 
in two thousand five hundred and forty-four (2,544) cases 
for the Master-in-Lunacy, one thousand nine hundred (1,900) 
for the Boarding-out Officer and Chief Officer under the 
' Children's Protection Act, 1902, ' and one hundred and 
sixty-seven (167) for the Medical Inspector of Charities. 
One thousand six hundred and twenty-six (1,626) inquiries 
were made by the police to recover moneys advanced, and 
on other matters connected with the State Labour Bureau. 
Seven hundred and fifty-four (754) notices were served on 
behalf of the Department of Lands, and four hundred and 
fifty-eight (458) for the Land Appeal Court. One thousand 
two hundred and forty-four (1,244) inquiries were made for 
the Department of Agriculture in connection with the 
recovery for moneys for seed wheat supplied, etc., one 
hundred and forty-eight (148) inquiries were made for the 



Fisheries Department, five hundred and twelve (512) for 
the Government Statistician, sixty-five (65) for the Govern- 
ment Savings Bank of New South Wales, twenty-four (24) 
for the officer in charge of the ' Shearers' Accommodation 
Act,' two hundred and eighty-six (286) for the Explosives 
Department, twenty-seven (27) for the Taxation Depart- 
ment, one hundred and fifty-seven (157) for the Resumed 
Properties Branch, fifty-nine (59) for the Randwick Asylum, 
and twenty-five (25) for the Registrar-General under the 
' Registration of Firms Act ' ; six hundred and seventy- 
three (673) for the Chief Secretary's Department respecting 
Justices of the Peace and nominations for the Commission 
of the Peace ; two thousand seven hundred (2,700) for 
the same Department respecting charitable allowances, 
and nine hundred and nine (909) respecting the licensing of 

" Reports were furnished regarding one thousand eight 
hundred and twenty-eight (1,828) applications for expenses 
of witnesses attending Police and Coroners' Courts, one 
hundred and fifty-seven (157) in connection with tramway 
accidents, and forty-nine (49) for the Sheriff respecting the 
death of jurors (a considerable number of reports were also 
furnished direct by the police for the information of the 
Board for Invalidity and Accidents Pensions in Sydney, in 
addition to numerous inquiries made for the various local 
Boards), and one hundred and forty-eight (148) inquiries 
were made for the Immigration and Tourist Bureau respect- 
ing the proposed settlement of immigrants on the land, etc. 

" With a view to assisting the Board of Health in their 
administration of the ' Private Hospitals Act, 1908,' in- 
quiries have been made by the police during the year regard- 
ing all persons conducting private hospitals throughout the 



State, the class of buildings utilized, and the accommodation 
provided, etc. Four thousand five hundred and nineteen 
(4,519) similar inquiries were made by the police, at the 
instance of the Chief Secretary, upon the passing of the 
* Theatres and Public Halls Act/ regarding halls required 
to be licensed under the Act. 

" Arrangements having been made by the Government 
for the payment of invalidity and accidents pensions, which 
are payable by the State, through public officers, half- 
monthly, on and after the llth November, instead of 
monthly, through the Bank of New South Wales, as formerly, 
I consented to the police, at certain places, including those 
who are Acting Clerks of Petty Sessions, undertaking these 
duties as may be found necessary. 

" The police at various centres still continue to perform 
duties for the Commonwealth in connection with the ' Com- 
monwealth Invalidity and Old-age Pensions Act,' consisting 
of the completion of forms, submitting original claims for and 
renewals of pensions, furnishing reports to the Registrar 
in regard to applications for warrants under section 33 of the 
Principal Act, collecting necessary evidence, and reporting 
where further information is required in connection with 
claims, reporting cases of removal, attending Board meet- 
ings when required to give evidence, and filing informations 
against pensioners where false declarations have been made, 
and prosecuting offenders in Police Courts. 

" In the month of September, at the instance of the 
Commonwealth Government, the police throughout the State 
commenced a canvass with a view to bringing the Federal 
electoral rolls up to date. The work was satisfactorily and 
expeditiously completed, the only expense to the Common- 
wealth Government being the travelling allowances of the 



police engaged on the work and actual out-of-pocket ex- 
penses for postage, freight, baits, etc." 

In addition to the foregoing we find the mounted police 
filling the important posts of mining registrars, mining 
wardens' clerks and bailiffs, registrars of Small Debts 
Courts, issuers of miners' rights, business and min- 
eral licences, acting foresters, registrars of births, deaths, 
and marriages, inspectors under the Diseases in Sheep 
Act, inspectors of vineyards, inspectors under the Alien 
Immigration Acts, inspectors under the Fisheries Act, 
crown lands rangers, inspectors under the Early Closing 
Act, inspectors under Noxious Trades Act, agents for the 
Curator of Intestate Estates, agents for the Aborigines Pro- 
tection Board and collectors of aborigines yearly census, 
agents for inquiries under the Poisons Act, issuers of permits 
for sheep to travel, receivers and distributors of money 
under Deserted Wives and Childrens Act, inspectors under 
Factories and Shops Act, issuers of timber, fuel, and 
quarry licences, agents for Labour Commissioners, receivers 
of cormorant heads and issuers of certificates for payment. 

And this is not all. Almost every Department of the 
State looks to the police for assistance in one way or another, 
and the whole of the help rendered is done free of charge. 
The Inspector-General not unreasonably asks whether the 
Commonwealth Government ought not to pay for these 
varied duties. There is not the slightest doubt that, were 
the services of the police not made available, the Common- 
wealth would be at considerable expense both in the matter 
of the collection of electoral rolls and in obtaining the 
information now furnished by the police of the State. It 
is a fact, too, that in view of the prevailing conditions some 
of the work could hardly be carried out without this assist- 



ance, and the present arrangement certainly makes for 
effectiveness and economy. The police do not grumble at 
the burden of work, they are ready enough to " run the 
show " : what they ask is adequate compensation for services 

With the course of years have come a few changes in 
uniform, all of which have tended to increased smartness in 
appearance. The New South Wales trooper of to-day is a 
striking figure in his blue cloth jacket, Bedford cord breeches, 
black riding boots, and black cloth cap with its French 
peak. This is his working dress ; for parade he dons a 
white helmet, white buckskin crossbelt and sword-belt, 
and white buckskin gloves. In the bush he will exchange 
his showy " Wellingtons " for more serviceable brown boots 
and leggings, which do not call for constant cleaning. The 
carbine now used by the mounted police is the Martini- 
Henry, this being carried in a bucket on the saddle. The 
revolver is the well-known Adams pattern or the Webley, 
these having superseded the heavier Colt. 

Lastly, a word as to the pay of the police, which is the 
same for mounted men as for the foot. The scale is as 
follows : Probationary constables, 6s. 6d. per day ; ordi- 
nary constables, Is. 6d. rising, after three years' service, 
to 85. ; constables, 1st class, 85. 6d. ; senior-constables, 9s. ; 
sergeants, 2nd class, 105. 3d. ; sergeants, 1st class, lls. 6d. ; 
detectives, from 10s. to 14s. All non-commissioned officers 
and constables not provided with quarters receive an allow- 
ance of Is. per day. On retirement at the age of sixty, or if 
certified unfit for service earlier, a policeman is awarded a 
pension according to the number of years he has been in the 
force. For thirty years' service full salary is granted, for 
twenty-five years' three-quarters pay, for twenty years' 

225 Q 


two-thirds pay, and for fifteen years* half-pay. For those 
appointed to the force since 1906 the scale of pension for 
twenty years and upwards has been fixed at V of the salary 
for each completed year of service. 1 

1 All members of the Police Force subscribe 4 per cent, of their salaries 
to a Superannuation Fund, from which pensions and gratuities are payable 
to those who reach the age limit or who may be certified unfit for further 
service by the Medical Board. Widows of members of the force are also 
entitled to gratuities from the Police Reward Fund. These grants are 
made under the " Police Regulation (Superannuation) Act " of 1906. 




The Port Phillip settlement Superintendent Latrobe Separation 
demanded The colony of Victoria Policing arrangements High 
Constables Captain Lonsdale Mounted police Captain Mair 
A native corps Mr. W. H. F. Mitchell, Chief Commissioner Captain 
Charles Macmahon Highway robberies The tables turned A 
Melville story Uniforms Captain F. C. Standish, Chief Commis- 
sioner Power, the bushranger An exciting capture Superinten- 
dents Hare and Nicholson Quelling a mutiny Mr. H. M. Chomley 
appointed Mr. T. O'Callaghan, Chief Commissioner Police figures 
At the depot Pay. 

THE settlement of Port Phillip by John Batman and 
John Pascoe Fawkner, and its growth under New 
South Wales jurisdiction, has already been touched upon. 
It remains to sketch briefly the events which led to its 
separation from the older colony and the constitution of 
the State of Victoria. 

From the very first there was trouble. The Port Phillip 
settlers chafed under the distant rule of the Legislative 
Council at Sydney. Mr. Latrobe, who had been sent out in 
1839 to take charge of the settlement, with the title of 
Superintendent, found the community grow too fast for 
him. The demand for land was so great that the authorities 
could scarcely keep pace with it. And as the population 
increased accordingly the general discontent began to 
manifest itself openly. The settlers' grievances were 



augmented in 1840 when the boundary of New South Wales 
was fixed to include a number of districts which it had been 
proposed to leave in the southern division. It was felt that 
the time had come when Port Phillip was strong enough to 
stand on its own legs. 

A concession was made in 1842 when the English Parlia- 
ment passed an Act by which the southern settlement was 
empowered to send six representatives to the Legislative 
Council. But this was not sufficient ; the inhabitants 
clamoured for autonomy. Two years later an attempt was 
made to bring about the desired separation without avail, 
the Council negativing the proposal. In order, therefore, 
to draw the attention of the Imperial Government to the 
state of affairs, Melbourne nominated and duly returned 
" The Right Honourable Henry Grey, Earl Grey in the 
peerage of Great Britain," the then Secretary of State for the 
Colonies, as its representative in Sydney. To this farcical 
proceeding the Governor, Sir Charles Fitzroy, rejoined by 
declaring the election null and void. But though eventually 
local representatives were secured, Earl Grey was now made 
aware of the necessity for reform, and steps were taken to 
effect the change. 

The defeat of the Government of which Earl Grey was 
a member somewhat delayed matters. In 1850, however, 
an Act passed through the British Parliament authorising 
the separation, and in the following year the colony of 
Victoria was proclaimed. Mr. Latrobe was appointed the 
first Governor. At this juncture, as we have seen, there 
occurred the great gold discoveries, following upon those of 
New South Wales. The influx of people into the colony sent 
up its population by leaps and bounds, and Victoria entered 
upon its independent career with bright prospects. Its 



subsequent vicissitudes are a matter of history, which it 
is beyond our purpose to follow. 

The policing arrangements of Port Phillip in its earliest 
days were very primitive. That some sort of watchmen or 
constables were appointed is evident from the fact that 
there was a High Constable in charge of the settlement. In 
1836 this post was filled by Robert Day, his successors 
being Henry Batman (1837), William Wright (1838), F. 
A. Falkiner (1841), and Joseph Bloomfield (1848). A 
few years before Mr. Latrobe received his commission as 
Superintendent of the embryo colony the authorities at 
Sydney had sent out Captain Lonsdale with a small very 
small body of soldiers to assume charge of affairs. So far 
as he may be regarded a chief of police Lonsdale represents 
the first attempt at legally constituted authority. 

The following memorandum, which appears in the 
Captain's report to his superiors at Sydney, throws an 
interesting light on the conditions prevailing in the settle- 
ment. He says : " As to the state of order among the 
people, I have no reason to doubt that they were as peaceable 
as could reasonably be expected under the'^rcumstances 
in which they were placed, but I know that repeated repre- 
sentations were made to the Sydney Government to the 
contrary, of so strong a nature that Sir Richard Bourke 
thought there was a probability of some resistance being 
offered to his establishing authority in the place ; and 
directed me to apply to Captain Hobson for the marines of 
his ship, should I find the detachment of troops I took 
with me insufficient. This, however, was perfectly useless, 
the people were quite quiet, the only indication to the con- 
trary was the simple circumstance of the printed proclama- 
tions which I had caused to be posted up being torn down. 



One of the first persons who made himself known to me was 
Dr. Thomson, l who, with a formidable brace of pistols in 
his belt, told me he was very glad I had arrived, as they 
were in a most lawless state, and always in dread of being 
assaulted, or something to that effect." 

The evolution of a police force from the more or less 
military guard provided by the New South Wales Govern- 
ment was only a matter of time. The expansion of the 
colony brought with it the need for proper protective mea- 
sures. In 1850 we find a regular body of mounted police in 
Melbourne under Captain Sturt, the officer who subsequently 
ran to earth the robbers of the gold-ship Nelson. After him 
came Captain Mair, who joined the force in 1847, and was 
appointed Commissioner and Paymaster in 1853. Prior to 
this he had served in the New South Wales police. It was 
during Captain Mair's occupation of office that the mounted 
police were called upon to undertake the early pacification 
of the goldfields, for which special duty black troopers were 

In this connection we may note that the establishment 
of a force of native mounted police dates to a much earlier 
period. Soon after the opening of Port Phillip a New South 
Wales officer named De Villiers attempted to form such a 
corps, but the results were not satisfactory. This was in 
1836 or 1837. About six years later Mr. Latrobe revived 
the scheme, placing at the head of the corps an Englishman 
named Dana, and the experiment is stated to have justified 
itself. The establishment of the native mounted police, 
as distinct from the border police, first appeared on the Port 

1 This gentleman was the chief medical and religious officer and, accord- 
ing to his own account, acted as police officer and arbitrator prior to 
Captain Lonsdale's arrival. At this period Melbourne numbered about 
150 souls, 



Phillip estimates for 1843, when the sum of 2,675 5s. was 
voted for their support. In a report from Dana, addressed 
from "The Police Paddock, Menmi Creek, "to Superintendent 
Latrobe, that officer wrote in high commendation of his little 
force. The strength (in 1848) was twenty-seven, being 
composed of a superintendent (Dana himself), an overseer 
or sergeant, one native sergeant and twenty-four troopers. 
Their uniform consisted of a green jacket with opossum skin 
facings, black or green trousers with a red stripe, and a 
green cap with a similar red stripe around it. The arms 
carried were flint-lock carbines and bayonets. 

In succession to Captain Mair 1 the next head of the 
mounted police was Mr. William Henry Fancourt Mitchell, 
who had been Acting Colonial Secretary in Tasmania before 
he came to Victoria to settle as a squatter. To this gentle- 
man Mr. Latrobe turned when the need arose for reorganisa- 
tion of the police force. Mr. Mitchell accepted the post of 
Chief Commissioner that was offered him, and, with almost 
unlimited powers of action, he quickly brought about a new 
order of things. It was he who introduced the cadet system 
by promising a number of smart young fellows commissions 
and outfits as police cadets consequent on their passing 
through a successful probation in hunting down bushrangers 
and performing escort-duty. This scheme had a dual effect. 
It served to stamp out highway robbery in the colony at the 
same time that it trained an efficient body of officers for the 

Chief Commissioner Mitchell, however, did not remain 
in office more than a year. He went back to England on 
leave of absence, and on returning to Australia entered 

1 Captain Mair retired on half pay in 1868, and on full pension in 



political life. In 1856 he was elected to the Legislative 
Council, of which he subsequently became President, and in 
1875 his services were recognised by the bestowal of a knight- 
hood. A fitting successor to Mr. Mitchell was found in 
Captain Charles Macmahon, who had been appointed head 
of the city police of Melbourne and Assistant Commissioner. 
In 1854 this officer took control of affairs in his chief's 
absence, in due course being appointed to the supreme 

By the time that the digger troubles had culminated in 
the Eureka Stockade episode the Victorian mounted police 
were freed from their vexatious duties on the fields, and were 
able to concentrate their energies on the suppression of 
crimes of violence. These had increased considerably 
within a year or two. The motley crew who found their 
way into the colony in the wake of the genuine gold-seekers 
provided no little sensation in the matter of " sticking up " 
and robbing travellers. In 1853, to cite but one instance of 
the kind, the Gold Escort from the Mclvor fields was stopped 
and over 5,000 worth of gold was stolen. Three police 
troopers, who rode with the cart, were all wounded, while 
the driver was shot fatally. The robbers made away with 
their booty into the bush, but a few months after the guilty 
parties were arrested, and three of the five implicated were 

In and around Melbourne cases of highway robbery were 
so frequent as to arouse public indignation over the powerless- 
ness of the police. The streets after dark were unsafe for 
individuals, owing to the number of desperate characters 
about. But with the hardened, stop-at-nothing criminals 
were several amateurs who in the general terror saw a 
chance to try their luck at the game. It could not have 



been a genuine " tough " in the case of the Geelong resi- 
dent whose experience was chronicled in the newspapers 
of the time. This gentleman was returning home with a 
bottle of brandy under his arm when he was suddenly sum- 
moned to " Bail up ! " With the utmost sang-froid he drew 
out the bottle in pistol fashion and presented it at the head 
of the seeming bushranger with the words, " You bail up ! " 
At this the other dropped his weapon and took to his heels, 
but a peremptory command to " Stop or be shot dead ! " 
checked his flight. Then the hero of this story, after decid- 
ing that it was too much trouble to take his capture to the 
lock-up, administered a sound drubbing to him, carrying off 
the man's pistol as a trophy. 

This incident reminds one of that other occasion when 
" Thunderbolt " is said to have introduced a like touch of 
comedy in an encounter with the police by scaring two 
troopers with an empty ginger-beer bottle ! Much has been 
made of this by those who have sought to belittle the 
Australian mounted police, but even if it be true what does 
it count for ? The bushrangers of those days had ample 
experience of the pluck of the troopers when it came to 
hand-grips. The redoubtable " Captain " Melville, one of 
Victoria's highwaymen, once encountered a well-known 
police officer who was riding through the bush alone and 
unarmed. He carried off his prisoner to his "camp," where 
two other men, his accomplices, were waiting. The officer 
taunted Melville with his " bravery " in seizing him with 
such a show of force. The " Captain " lost his temper, and, 
snatching a revolver from his belt, pointed it at the other's 

" If you say another word," he growled, "I'll blow your 
brains out ! " 

~ 233 


" Not you," answered the policeman coolly ; " you 
daren't do it." 

They remained eye to eye for some moments, then the 

bushranger's hand dropped. " You're a plucky chap, 

and no mistake ! " he said. 

Melville treated his prize with more consideration after 
this test of nerve, and probably did not begrudge the chance 
of escape which afterwards offered and of which the police- 
man promptly availed himself. 

The rank and file, too, were not slow to show their mettle 
when put to it. There is the right ring about the story of 
the trooper who kept three bushrangers at bay until they 
forced him from his cover. Although the odds were so 
heavy against him he still refused to surrender, and he died 
fighting with his back to a tree, having emptied his revolver 
and accounted for one at least of his assailants. 

In a copy of the " Police Regulations " for 1856 we find 
particulars of the uniform of that period. The dress of the 
mounted men was modelled after that of the New South 
Wales troopers, comprising blue cloth jacket, waterproof 
cape, cloak, blue cloth trousers (white for summer wear), 
white cotton or buckskin gloves, a jumper, neck scarf, and 
Wellington or Napoleon boots. A black leather cap was 
worn, with a detachable white cover. A note is added to the 
effect that the jumper must be used only in quarters, while 
the constable was on fatigue or other duty of a similar 
nature, or while patrolling in the bush or doing escort duty. 
On all other occasions the jacket was to be worn. 

Each mounted man in addition was to supply himself 
with sword-belt, cap pouch, trouser straps, military and 
bush spurs, and the outfit necessary for grooming his horse. 

The uniform of officers included a blue cloth single- 


breasted frock coat, with standing collar and service buttons ; 
an overcoat of like fashion ; blue cloth trousers with black 
lace stripe down the sides, white cloth being adopted for the 
summer ; white cotton or buckskin gloves ; high riding boots 
of the usual pattern ; and a blue cloth cap with patent 
leather peak and black lace band. The cap was provided 
with an oil-skin or leather cover for winter, and a white 
cover for summer use. An old-fashioned touch was given 
to the dress by the wearing of a stock, or black silk necker- 

Experience showed that the cloth trousers tore too easily, 
and they were in time replaced by serge ones of more strength. 
The riding pants, as now, were made of narrow-rib Bedford 
cord, such as is worn by the trooper police of other States. 
A later modification was the adoption of a helmet in place of 
the old type mounted police cap, which was of the following 

Police carbines, / \ pistols and swords 
were the arms car- ^/_______^\ ried ; swords, how- 
ever, being used only for parade occasions. 

Captain Macmahon resigned the post of Chief Commis- 
sioner in 1858, to enter Parliament shortly after. 1 He was 
succeeded by Captain Frederick Charles Standish, another 
retired Army officer who had come out to Australia. Captain 
Standish reached Victoria in 1852, and two years later 
was appointed Assistant Commissioner of Goldfields at 
Sandhurst. He afterwards became Chinese Protector, from 
which position he was transferred to the command of the 

In the twenty odd years of Captain Standish 's tenure of 

1 He became Speaker of the Assembly in 1871 and received the honour 
of knighthood in 1875. 



office the most striking events were the outbreaks of the 
bushranger Power and the Kelly gang. The story of the 
latter has been told at some length elsewhere, that of Power 
may be dealt with here. For many months this ruffian 
terrorised the Ovens and Beechworth districts, with one 
excursion into New South Wales, and at the last gave 
the mounted police one of the most exciting chases on 

An Irishman by birth, Harry Power began his criminal 
career in Victoria as a horse-thief. It was soon evident 
that he was one of the smartest hands at the game, being a 
first-class rider and a skilled bushman. The police had the 
utmost difficulty in bringing him to book. Power's undoing 
was his firing at a constable who called upon him to show 
the receipt of a horse he was riding. The animal was a 
stolen one, as the policeman well knew. For " wounding 
with intent," Power received a sentence of fourteen years' 
imprisonment, but before the term had expired he had 
regained his freedom. The escape was effected by conceal- 
ing himself in a heap of rubbish which he and other convicts 
at Pentridge Gaol were dumping on some waste ground 
outside the prison walls. Before his absence had been noted 
the missing man had crept out from his hiding-place and 
made off into the country. A raid on a farmhouse provided 
him with fresh clothes, while for a weapon he relied upon the 
blade of an old sheep-shears tied to the end of a long stick. 
This formidable " persuader " soon brought him into posses- 
sion of a pistol, which he took from a wayfarer, and Power 
forthwith started on his career as a bushranger. 

As was only to be expected from such an adept in crime, 
Power made his plans carefully. He employed an efficient 
service of bush telegraphs, but beyond these had no com- 



panion in his raids. It was a boast of his that he would 
never make a confidant of man or woman. One of his youth- 
ful aids at this time, it is interesting to note, was Ned Kelly, 
the sharp-witted youngster keeping him well-posted in police 
intelligence. By this means, and by his remarkable daring, 
the bushranger performed some " sticking up " exploits in the 
grand manner. Single-handed he would hold up a stage 
coach, and make the passengers empty their pockets before 
him on the road one by one, each victim then being directed 
to a certain spot (usually a fallen log) where he was under 
the cover of Power's gun. On one such occasion, it is 
stated, he plundered no fewer than thirty people, whom he 
kept for hours sitting by the roadside. 

The recklessness and audacity with which Power defied 
the police goaded the authorities to exasperation. The most 
expert bushmen in the country, and black trackers, were 
alike unable to run him down. At last the Chief Commis- 
sioner sent for Superintendent Hare. " I want you," he 
said, "to go into the north-eastern district after Power. 
Take any steps you wish, incur any expense advisable, but 
get him." With these carte blanche instructions the superin- 
tendent left Melbourne early in May of that year, 1870, on his 

The mounted police party was composed of Superin- 
tendents Hare and Nicholson, Sergeant Montf ord, and Native 
Tracker Donald. It was only possible to get on the trail 
of their quarry by suborning one of his " telegraphs/' and the 
desired opportunity soon offered itself. A man was found 
whom a reward of 500 was sufficient to tempt. He pro- 
mised to lead the police to Power's lair. 

The bushranger's chosen hiding-place was in a ravine 
among the ranges at the head of the King River. It was 



guarded by the house of a family named Quinn, who gave 
Power notice of any impending danger by cracking a stock- 
whip. A number of dogs were about the place, but the best 
sentinel of all was a peacock, which every night perched on a 
rocky ridge at the entrance to the glen and screamed at the 
approach of a stranger. Power believed himself to be abso- 
lutely safe from a surprise attack with such invaluable 
friends as these. 

Guided by the betrayer L the party left Wangaratta 

and stealthily made their way through the bush. It was 
their plan to jump on Power in the darkness. Luckily for 
the purpose it was a windy and rainy night, otherwise their 
presence must have been detected by the animal watchers. 
In the fierce gusty downpours the dogs and the peacock 
sought shelter, and the police stole through the cordon un- 
seen and unheard. What followed from this point has been 
variously narrated by both Hare and Nicholson. According 
to the former it was he who first saw the den wherein the 
bushranger lay asleep, and who made the actual capture. 
Later on, however, Superintendent Nicholson denied many 
of the statements made by his brother officer, and gave the 
following version to the press. 

" After proceeding along the base of the range," he 
says, " looking upwards for Power's camp fire, but without 

catching the faintest glimpse of it, our guide, old L , who 

had for some time been showing signs of succumbing to 
cold, fatigue, and terror, now collapsed, and declared himself 
unable to proceed one step farther, and equally unable to 
recognise the hill on which was situated the outlaw's lair. 
We also were then suffering from cold, fatigue, and want of 
food, and the night was still very dark and wet. I therefore 
proposed that all the party except myself should lie down 
L - 238 - 


and rest, and I undertook to watch, and to awaken them at 
daybreak. They lay down on the ground. After they had 
had a short sleep I aroused them. We resumed our search, 
silently and carefully scanning the shallow gullies on the side 
of the range from there upwards to where the gullies ended 
at the crest. The range was clothed lightly with timber and 
scrub towards the top boulders, and rock cropped up, whereas 
at the bottom, amongst the finer soil, were some very large 
trees. I was looking among these latter for a hollow tree 
stump which had been described to me as ' Power's Watch- 
box ' by young Ned Kelly, whom I had left behind me 
under the care of the police at Kyneton. At last my atten- 
tion was attracted by the stump of a large tree, the small 
branches and leaves apparently sprouting from it being 
brown, withered, and dead, offering a striking contrast 
to those of the other stumps, which were alive and green. 
Springing towards it, I found the withered branches came 
away in my hands, disclosing peep-holes cut in the hollow 
trunk, which they had served to mask. Inside was some dried 
grass strewn on the floor, but no bed, as Mr. Hare describes. 
At this time the blackfellow, who had been keeping near 
me, recognising that I had made a discovery, sprang to- 
wards me and looked at the tree. Without speaking, I 

glanced back to old L , who was feebly following us, 

and I pointed to the stump ; he silently signalled with his 
head and outstretched arms an affirmative gesture, and 
disappeared. I never saw him again. 

" It was then just daylight, and the mist was rolling up 
the hills, rendering it almost impossible in some places to 
distinguish it from smoke ; but Donald, after one look, 
pointed straight up the gully, and, with dilated eyes and 
nostrils, uttered in a suppressed tone ' Moke ! Moke ! ' 



Hare and Montf ord were at that time exploring a short dis- 
tance off. I attracted their attention by a low hissing 
whistle, but knowing that there was not an instant to be lost, 
as Power might wake up at any moment, I did not wait for 
them, but commenced running up the gully, whilst Hare 
and Montford followed, making a short diagonal cut to get 
on my line. As I ascended, a defined track became plain, 
and I then observed some distance above me a thin column 
of smoke rising among some boulders. A little more, and a 
few yards to the left of the line I was following, the small 
fire and a few cooking utensils around it appeared in view, 
close to a large boulder ; and straight before me, what might 
have been taken for a small thicket of leafy green scrub, but 
the straightness of one or two of its outlines, as well as a foot 
in a clean worsted stocking projecting from the end next to 
the fire, betrayed its artificial character. These were on a 
small plateau or shelf on the side of the range. 

" With a twist of my shoulders, as I ran, I got rid of 
my loose pea-jacket, which was soaked and heavy with rain, 
and quickened my pace. The thicket was broadside to me, 
its entrance and the foot facing the fire. Apprehensive 
lest the owner of the foot should escape either by the rear 
or far side, I waved my right arm to Hare and Montford, 
who were still behind and below me, to go round, whilst I 
made a dash at the entrance, and throwing myself into the 
gunyah upon the prostrate body of the occupant, I seized 
and held him securely by the wrists until the Superintendent 
and the Sergeant appeared almost immediately, the former 
catching the man by his legs and Sergeant Montford by 
his^ankles. With one simultaneous heave we swung our 
prisoner outside, and then the Sergeant quietly handcuffed 



The structure in which Power had lain hid is described 
as having been low and narrow, but well put together and 
comfortable. It consisted of a good tough frame covered 
with blankets, and these were skilfully concealed by leafy 
twigs and branches. There was a neat floor of small saplings 
about six inches above the ground, upon which straw and 
blankets were spread. When the Superintendent entered, 
Power lay half -dressed on his back, apparently asleep, with his 
revolver by his side. A double-barrelled gun, loaded and 
cocked, was slung from the ridge pole and so placed that 
the trigger was within easy reach of its owner's hand im- 
mediately he was roused. Mr. Hare averred that he seized 
Power by the ankles and drew him out of the den ; Super- 
intendent Nicholson declares this to have been impossible, 
as it would have meant certain death for the aggressor. 
Nicholson's account bears the impress of truth, and while 
the honours of the capture may be shared fairly equally 
by all concerned, the actual facts of the case were no doubt 
as he stated. 

Once arrested, Power gave no more trouble. He willingly 
showed the police, who were nearly starving, where he kept 
his provisions, and accompanied them to Wangaratta, where 
he was safely locked up in a cell. It was a Sunday when the 
party arrived in the township, and a crowd greeted their 
arrival with the notorious bushranger. The latter waved 
his hand coolly to the people. " They've caught Harry 
Power," he cried out, " but they had to catch him asleep ! " 

On being tried and convicted on four separate counts of 
highway robbery, Power was sent into penal servitude for 
fifteen years. This term he served in full, showing himself 
to be a very tractable prisoner. It was during his incar- 
ceration that a mutiny broke out among the convicts while 

241 R 


a large number of them were assembled in the gaol dining- 
hall. The warders on duty had great difficulty in quelling 
the disturbance, and seeing this Power offered to " lend a 
hand." " Do what you can," said the chief warder, " and 
I promise you I won't forget it." Seizing a big iron ladle 
that was used for stirring the skilly, Power sailed into the 
fray, and in a few minutes the ringleaders were laid out with 
broken heads. 

" I'm sorry if I've hurt 'em much, sir," explained Power, 
when order was restored, " but you told me to do the best I 

His good conduct in gaol was no mere pose assumed in 
order to obtain a remission of his sentence. On his release 
Power found honest employment without displaying any 
tendency to revert to his old evil ways. His death occurred 
in 1891, when he was drowned in the Murray River while 
making an overland journey to Sydney. 

The Special Commission which sat to inquire into the 
conduct of the police hunt after the Kelly" 5 gang of bush- 
rangers was responsible for the retirement of several officers 
high in the service. Among others, as has been noted in an 
earlier chapter, Captain Standish left the force on pension. 
This was in 1880. For a time Superintendent Nicholson, as 
senior officer, held the post of Acting Chief Commissioner 
until a fresh appointment was made. Eventually Mr. 
Hussey Malone Chomley, who had risen through the various 
grades from cadet to superintendent, was selected, the new 
chief entering upon his duties in March 1882. 

The following two decades saw the Victorian mounted 
police brought to a very high state of efficiency. The 
lessons learned during the recent troublous years were not 
forgotten, and no pains were spared to horse and arm the 



troopers in the best possible manner. Old type carbines 
and pistols were discarded, the newest patterns being ob- 
tained. To afford adequate protection to outlying districts 
several new stations were opened, with the result that the 
State ere long was regularly patrolled from one end to the 
other. Chief Commissioner Chomley's reign was not marked 
by any serious outbreak. It is remarkable for a decrease 
in crime, a continuous strengthening of the power of the 
police, and for administrative work quietly but most effec- 
tively carried out. 

When in 1902 Mr. Chomley retired on a superannuation 
allowance he was succeeded by the present Chief Commis- 
sioner, Mr. Thomas O'Callaghan. Thirty-five years of 
distinguished service in the force 1 had well earned Mr. 
O'Callaghan this promotion, and he has proved its justi- 
fication by his firm grasp of affairs. At the present day the 
Victorian police particularly the mounted branch can 
vie with any in the continent for smartness and ability. 

For police administrative purposes the State is di- 
vided into ten districts as follows, the headquarters in each 
case being given in brackets : Melbourne (Russell Street), 
Bourke (Police Depot, St. Kilda Road), Central (Ballarat), 
North-western (Bendigo), Western (Hamilton), North- 
eastern (Benalla), Gippsland (Sale), Southern (Geelong), 
Midland (Maryborough), Wimmera (Stawell). In all, 
mounted and foot, the force distributed over these points 
totals 1,638. Of this number but 271 are mounted men, a 
considerable reduction in strength having taken place after 
the last bushranging era had passed. It is a striking tribute 

1 Mr. O'Callaghan entered the police service in 1867 as a detective ; 
was promoted Sub-Inspector February 1886, Inspector January 1892, 
Superintendent January 1895, Inspecting Superintendent January 1898, 
and Chief Commissioner July 1902. 



to the power of a trooper that out of the 417 Police Stations 
in the State there are 165 at which a mounted constable 
is the only representative of authority. 

The duties may be prosaic enough in these matter-of-fact 
days of the railway and telegraph, but there is an appealing 
picturesque touch about the solitary blue-coated, helmeted 
trooper at Wallaloo or Mudgeegonga, as the case may be, 
ruler of a good many square miles, doing several men's 
work in one and doing it remarkably well. In the country 
districts, in what may be termed generally " the bush," 
the mounted constable is a highly important personage. 
" Out back there," said an officer to the writer, " the police 
are in absolute fact the Government. There's a good deal 
that they have to do off their own bat, so to speak, but they 
don't blow about it. It's just done, that's all." 

To join the mounted police of Victoria * one must be 
between twenty and twenty-five years of age, and at least 
5 feet 9 inches in height. A recruit, having passed the 
medical officer and a preliminary riding test, has then to be 
approved by the Chief Commissioner, after which, if suc- 
cessful, he is attached to the Depot for a course of instruc- 
tion. The education of a mounted policeman at the St. 
Kilda Road barracks in Melbourne is much the same as that 
received by the New South Wales trooper, and need not be 
dwelt upon in detail. He attends lectures on police duties, 
while under Sub-Inspector Allcock 2 he learns his mounted 
and dismounted drill. Musketry and revolver practice is 

1 Up to about 1876 men trained in the Garrison Artillery were mostly 
chosen for this branch of the service. After that date the range became 

2 Formerly of the 17th (Duke of Cambridge's Own) Lancers, and 
instructor to the Rupertswood Battery of Victorian Horse Artillery up to 
the time of its disbandment. 



provided for at the rifle ranges at Williamstown or Ell wood. 
Swimming and life-saving drill is a compulsory subject. 
In the physical drill curriculum the art of ju-jitsu is now 
being taken up by many of the troopers, but this is quite 
optional. Probably the future will see this special branch 
of self-defence become a more important feature of in- 

The uniform of the mounted policeman has undergone 
little change from that of the earlier period referred to on 
page 234. Blue cloth tunics and jumpers, trousers of 
similar material, riding breeches and high knee-boots 
of the usual pattern, are the order of the day. Brown 
dog-skin gloves are worn by both officers and men. The 
helmet is of the customary style, the white one of light make 
for summer use being shown in the illustration of Victorian 
troopers on another page. 

In the matter of pay the mounted man has nothing to 
grumble at. The rate compares favourably with that, say, 
of the Royal North- West Mounted Police of Canada to 
whom he approximates most nearly. Here is the scale : 
Constables : Under two years' service, 65. 6d. per day ; 
over two and under four years, 7s. ; over four and under 
six years, 7s. 6d. ; over six and under ten years, 85. ; 
over ten years, 85. 6d. to Us. ; Senior Constables, 85. 
to 9s. ; Sergeants (1st and 2nd class), from 10s. 6d. to 
12s. 6d. ; Sub-Inspectors, 255 per annum ; Inspectors, 
300 ; Superintendents, 375 ; Inspecting Superintendents, 
500. Pensions on a liberal scale are granted to members 
of the force on retirement. 1 

1 Members of the Force who were appointed before the 25th November, 
1902, are entitled to pensions or gratuities (as provided in Part 3 of the 
Police Regulations Act, 1890) on their retirement from the service. (Act 



While unmarried constables, and married sub-officers 
or constables in charge of stations, are provided with free 
Government quarters, an allowance of 6d. per day is granted 
to married men living out of barracks in lieu of quarters, 
fuel, light and water. Inspectors and sub-inspectors receive 
the generous sum of 70, and superintendents 90, per 
annum, in lieu of quarters, with free fuel, light and water. 
So that, taken all round, the lot of the mounted policeman 
of Victoria is not the unhappy one sung of in Sir William 
Gilbert's ballad. He is a picked man, however, and worth 
his price, and the Australian citizen who contributes to his 
maintenance may well be proud of him. 

1127, as amended byjjAct No. 1412). Members of the Force who were ap- 
pointed after the 25th November, 1 902, or who may hereafter be appointed, 
are not, and will not be, entitled to either pension or gratuity on retire- 
ment (Act No. 1798)." Victorian Police Code. 




First settlement, 1836 Adelaide founded Governor Hindmarsh 
Colonel Gawler Early troubles Sir George Grey Police Act of 1839 
Inspector Inman Major O'Halloran, first Commissioner The 
police in 1840 Uniform Undesirable immigrants Jack Foley 
" The black-faced robbers " Cattle-duffers A trooper's hallucina- 
tion After aboriginal murderers Commissioner B. T. Finniss Mr 
G. F. Dash wood Mr. Alexander Tolmer Inspector Alford Major 
Egerton-Warburton Later Commissioners Consolidating Police 
Act Expansion of the colony Growth of the force Crime 
Northern Territory Tom Egan's fate Police of to-day Commis- 
sioner W. H. Raymond Distribution Scrub and desert Varied 
duties Camels Training and equipment. 

THE founding of the first settlement in South Australia 
was effected in 1836, on the lines laid down by Edward 
Gibbon Wakefield, the economist. 1 In the spring of that year 
two shiploads of colonists left England, among them being 
Colonel Light, holding the appointment of Survey or- General. 
His Excellency the Governor, Captain (afterwards Sir) John 
Hindmarsh, R.N., followed some months later to proclaim 
" His Majesty's Province of South Australia." 

From Hold Fast Bay, where the landing was made, 
the settlers migrated to the spot on which the present fine 
city of Adelaide stands. There were dark days to begin with, 
days of privation and unremitting toil. Everything was in 
the rough. Huts of reeds had to be hastily run up to house 
the population, but the men and women were of the right 

1 See page 31. 


stamp and the work of colonisation went steadily, if slowly, 
forward. That mistakes were made was not surprising to 
those critics who realised how ineffectual ideal theories 
were when put into practice. The weak points in Wake- 
field's scheme evidenced themselves before very long. 
To add to the difficulties of the land question came dissen- 
sions between the Governor and certain of the leading settlers, 
with the result that the finances of the colony sank low. 
After two years' troublous rule Captain Hindmarsh was 
recalled, and Colonel Gawler appointed in his place. The 
story of the three successive years' ups and downs is too 
long to be told here : suffice it to say that the new Governor 
incurred the displeasure of the home authorities by his 
excessive expenditure of money on public works, and that 
he too was called upon to resign. 

At this critical stage of affairs Captain (afterwards Sir) 
George Grey was selected by the Colonial Office to restore 
order out of seeming chaos. The right man had now been 
found for the task. The statesmanlike qualities which in 
later years found wider scope in Cape Colony and New 
Zealand were displayed in a new policy of retrenchment and 
reform. Under his skilful management the land which 
many had left undeveloped after the boom had subsided 
was made to yield profitable labour, and scores of settlers 
who were thinking of quitting the colony for Victoria or 
New South Wales remained to reap the rich rewards of their 
enterprise. Within four years from Grey's arrival in 1841 
the population had nearly doubled itself, while the area of 
tilled land had risen from 2,500 to 26,000 acres. 

One of the earliest acts of the first Legislative Council 
of the new province was to pass an ordinance authorising 
the formation of a police force. This measure was agreed to 




in 1839, Colonel Gawler being Governor. Owing to the 
exclusion of the convict labour that had been the bane of 
New South Wales, South Australia escaped many of the 
initial trials of the older settlement. Unfortunately, how- 
ever, proper precautions were not taken to supervise the 
landing of immigrants, and in the course of a few years a 
large number of undesirables found their way into the colony. 
Vessels bound from Hobart and Melbourne brought escaped 
convicts, ticket-of-leave men and emancipists, to sow the 
seeds of crime in the community. Others arrived by the 
overland route, having joined stock parties in various 

As the colony grew, therefore, the need for police pro- 
tection became more urgent. In 1838 Mr. Henry Inman 
had been placed in command of a small body of police, foot 
and mounted, with the title of Inspector. In the following 
year he was given the rank of Superintendent. At this 
period the force numbered only three other officers, an 
inspector of mounted police and an inspector and sub- 
inspector of foot. Both of these branches were badly in 
need of discipline, and on the dismissal of Mr. Inman, whose 
conduct was unsatisfactory, the Board of Police Commis- 
sioners the ruling power brought about drastic changes. 
The office of Superintendent was abolished : the mounted 
and foot police were regarded as two distinct forces, each 
being entrusted to the command of a separate inspector : 
lastly a permanent Commissioner of Police was appointed 
to exercise general control over the whole force. This chief 
officer was also empowered to sit as a magistrate. 

In June 1840, the official Gazette announced the dis- 
solution of the Board and the appointment of Major Thomas 
Shuldham O'Halloran as first Commissioner. Inspector 



Stuart was placed over the Metropolitan and Port police, 
while Sub-Inspector Alexander Tolmer was given conimand 
of the mounted police as Inspector. 

The new chief was a retired army officer who had seen 
considerable service in India and Burma. On throwing 
up his commission Major O'Halloran emigrated with his 
family to South Australia to settle near Glenelg, at a place 
which was named after him O'Halloran Hill. Within a few 
months he was nominated a justice of the Peace, and very 
soon afterwards was asked by Colonel Gawler to undertake 
the reconstruction of the police service. In this direction 
he was eminently successful, the force being placed on a basis 
that ensured its providing adequate support to the little 

From the published records of Inspector Tolmer, who 
was himself destined to become Commissioner in the course 
of time, we learn some interesting facts about the mounted 
police of those early South Australian days. New barracks 
and stables were prepared for the troopers, who up to this 
time had been quartered here and there in different public- 
houses and private lodgings. 

" The barracks," he says, " consisted of two wings, 
each containing three small rooms, one of which was set 
apart as a guard-room, cook-house and mess-room ; three 
were sleeping apartments ; and the other two (in the west 
wing) were especially made over to my own use. The whole 
structure was built of pise, 1 with paling roofs. The stables 
extended from wing to wing, were built of broad palings, and 
afforded accommodation for about twenty horses, with a 
loft above for hay. Fronting the stables a paling fence 
extended right across the yard, with a wide gate in the centre, 

1 Hard earth or clay rammed into moulds. 


the whole forming a square. Subsequently a small brick 
room, which was used as an office, was added to the western 

The uniform of the troopers was neat and effective, 
comprising a double-breasted blue cloth jacket with white 
buttons, a blue cloth cap with white band, and blue cloth 
trousers with white piping down the seams. For summer 
wear trousers of white drill were substituted. The riding 
breeches were of the usual cord. In addition to the police 
carbine the mounted man carried a sword, with black belt 
and pouch, the regulations further ordering the use of white 
cotton gloves. This outfit, it will be understood, was in the 
main " full dress " such as would be worn on parade ; 
while on active service some features of it would naturally 
be dispensed with. 

With the constant arrival of all kinds of immigrants, so 
many of whom belonged to the criminal class, the mounted 
police were kept hard at work in their task of supervision. 1 
A large number of the worst characters made their home in 
the back district known as " The Tiers," in the deep thickly- 
timbered ravines of which they built themselves log huts. 
It was an ideal haunt for cattle-stealers and midnight 
marauders, the surrounding bush making it difficult to fol- 
low their tracks. Among those who thus came into the 
colony under the protection of overland stock parties was 
one Jack Foley, who affords the only instance, perhaps, of a 
bushranger turning policeman. His early career is typical 
of a hundred others. 

1 As illustrative of the character of the criminal class, it may be noted 
that at the gaol delivery at Adelaide on March 3rd, 1840, out of thirty 
prisoners only one was convicted who had come to the colony direct from 
England. The majority were ex-convicts or escapees from the penal 



Foley, whose real name was Lovett, escaped from New 
South Wales with two more convicts, all three having been 
sentenced to a " life " term. His companions, Stone and 
Stanley, were ruffians of a worse stamp than Foley himself, 
and the last-named separated himself from them on reach- 
ing South Australian soil. He had done some bushranging 
before being laid by the heels, but there is no record of his 
having taken any life. His particular line of business was 
horse-stealing, in which he was expert. However, having 
shaken off the dust of New South Wales and, as he hoped, 
blotted out his past, Foley struck out a new line for himself. 

The point at which he decided to stop was Encounter 
Bay, where a whaling station had been formed. Here he 
eked out an existence by supplying the little community with 
kangaroo flesh and other game. For a time all seemed to 
go well, then some of his customers grew suspicious of this 
solitary hunter who was reticent about his antecedents, and 
a trap was laid for him. The settlement was running short 
of stores ; it was necessary to send to Adelaide for supplies. 
Foley was now asked whether he would mind acting as 
messenger. At first he refused, fearing that the police would 
be furnished with the New South Wales Hue and Cry, and 
that he would be recognised, but on persuasion he consented 
to go. A letter was given him to present to the manager of 
the Bank of South Australia. 

Arrived in the city Foley executed his mission. At 
the bank he was invited to partake of a meal in the kitchen, 
the manager meanwhile acting on the hint contained in the 
letter. A little later Superintendent Inman made his 
appearance, strolling in casually and taking up the visitor's 
double-barrelled gun as if idly examining it. But Foley 's 
suspicions were aroused. In a few moments he made a dash 



for the door and was on his horse by the time the officer 
reached him. 

" You're my prisoner," exclaimed Inman, who had 
identified him as an absconder. 

The other made no answer, but drew a pistol from his 
belt. Inman clutched at this instantly, his fingers closing 
round the lock, the flint of which cut them. This action, 
however, prevented the weapon's discharge, and Foley 
was compelled to surrender. In due course he was brought 
before the Resident Magistrate, when it was found that the 
Court had no jurisdiction as to offences committed out of 
the colony. The prisoner was accordingly released, and 
Superintendent Inman found it no difficult matter to induce 
him to help in tracking the wanted men Stone and Stanley. 
Not long afterwards Foley became an auxiliary member of 
the police force, in which capacity he rendered much valu- 
able service. Eventually he returned to England, to end his 
days there. 

A notorious gang which was broken up by Inspector 
Tolmer was that of the " black-faced robbers," headed by 
Joseph Storey. These desperadoes pursued a somewhat 
lengthy career of cattle-stealing in the ranges, their practice 
of burning the skins making it almost impossible to bring 
any crime home to them. After the police had rendered 
the game too dangerous the gang turned to raiding settlers' 
houses, wearing black masks for disguise. But it was not 
long before nemesis overtook them. Sergeant-Ma j or Alford 
of the mounted police got upon their track, and Storey 
was arrested with several others. The ringleader was con- 
demned to death, but this sentence was afterwards com- 
muted to transportation for life to Van Diemen's Land. 

In the case of the cattle-stealers (or " duffers," as the 


colonial term is,) Brodrip and Gofton, who flourished in 
the Black Forest at this time, there was a curious sequel. 
The two men were arrested by Alf ord and Trooper Naughton, 
but Gofton succeeded in making his escape. The next 
development was the discovery of the latter 's body in the 
bush, where he had been foully murdered. For this crime 
another man, Stagg, was convicted and executed, there being 
no doubt as to his guilt. However, some time after Trooper 
Lomas of the mounted police made a startling declaration 
to the effect that he was the actual murderer. An investi- 
gation proved conclusively that the trooper was the victim 
of a hallucination, and he was acquitted of the charge. 
Lomas then left the force and the colony, his subsequent 
conduct making it clear that his mind was permanently 
deranged. There was good reason to believe, nevertheless, 
that he had been false to his oath and had acted in collusion 
with the cattle-duffers. The ease with which they had 
baffled the police was traceable to his timely warnings. 

One of the most notable of the police hunts which 
Commissioner O'Halloran organised during his command, 
occurred when the crew and passengers of the brig Maria 
were murdered by blacks. This was in June 1840. With 
Inspector Tolmer and a score of troopers, and a party of 
civilian volunteers, the Commissioner made a long journey 
into the country bordering on the Murray River. The 
culprits were known to belong to the " Big Murray Tribe," 
notorious for their ferocity, and the chase at last ended 
with the blacks being rounded up. Two natives were then 
yielded into the hands of the police as the actual criminals, 
this being in accordance with a recognised custom among 
the aborigines. When a number combined to commit a 
murder the man known to have thrown the weapon which 



caused the death wound was regarded as the murderer. The 
remainder of the tribe were considered to be innocent, de- 
spite the fact that all, or most of them, had been joyously 
engaged in throwing their spears at the same time. 

This peculiar tribal law was understood and accepted 
by the whites. The two prisoners were therefore tried at a 
drumhead court-martial on the spot, in the presence of the 
other blacks, and on the following day were hanged over the 
grave of their victims. 

In 1843 Major O'Halloran retired from the post of 
Commissioner of Police. His successor, Mr. Boyle Travers 
Finniss, was one of the pioneer party that had landed in South 
Australia seven years previously, his appointment being 
Assistant Surveyor under Colonel Light. Mr. Finniss, who 
later entered upon a distinguished political career, 1 held 
office for nearly six years, giving place to Mr. G. F. Dash- 
wood. During the latter 's reign Mr. Tolmer, promoted to 
Superintendent of the mounted police, acted temporarily as 
Commissioner for fifteen months, and, as was to be expected, 
he succeeded to that high office on Mr. Dashwood's re- 
signation in 1852. 

The next year was marked by considerable confusion 
in police administration. Without entering into contro- 
versial matters, it may be said that bitter jealousies existed 
among the principal officers of the force. Mr. Tolmer was 
a man of undoubted ability, and by his zealous work in the 
past had well deserved his promotion. He was, however, 

1 The Hon. B. T. Finniss held the appointments of Colonial Treasurer 
and Registrar-General in 1846, becoming Colonial Secretary two years later 
under Governor Sir H. E. F. Young. In 1854 he administered affairs as 
Acting Governor until Sir R. G. MacDonnell arrived in the colony. Ten 
years afterwards he headed the Government Survey party which proceeded 
to the Northern Territory, and assisted in founding the first settlement 

255 ~ 


somewhat hot-tempered, and his bearing to those who served 
under him made him strong enemies. Among his chief 
opponents was Inspector Alford, a man with whom he had 
been associated closely in many a case. Alford, by the way, 
could boast of longer service in the force than any of his 
superiors. He had volunteered to act as policeman as 
far back as 1837, in the days before a regular force had been 

As a result of the charges preferred against Mr. Tolmer, 
charges reflecting seriously both on his public and private 
character, a Board of Inquiry recommended his removal 
from office. With his dismissal from the force which fol- 
lowed Mr. Tolmer 's remarkable career practically ended. 1 
He found it impossible to return to the police service, and 
after an unsuccessful attempt to become explorer in the 
interior he accepted the minor position of Crown Lands 

Senior Inspector C. W. Stuart was Acting-Commissioner 
for several months until the appointment was offered to 
Major Peter Egerton-Warburton, whose exploits as an 
explorer have been alluded to in a previous chapter. After 
him came Mr. George Hamilton (1867 to 1882), Mr. Peters- 
wald (1882 to 1896), and Colonel L. G. Madley (1896 to 
1909). With these changes an important development in 
police administration has to be chronicled. Up to the end 
of Major War bur ton's tenure of office the force continued 
under the original Act of 1839, but under Commissioner 
Hamilton the 1869-70 session of Parliament passed a new 

1 The title of his autobiography, Reminiscences of an Adventurous and 
Chequered Career, is no misnomer. Before emigrating to South Australia 
he served as a soldier of fortune in the British Legion which espoused the 
cause of Dom Pedro and Donna Maria against the usurper Dom Miguel in 
Portugal. On returning to England he enlisted in a cavalry regiment, 
but was disappointed in his hope of gaining a commission. 

256 - 



Consolidating Police Act which has controlled the force 
ever since. 

Within this period, too, a notable expansion of the 
colony had taken place. At first the boundaries had been 
defined to embrace an area of nearly 300,000 square miles, 
" between the 132nd and 141st degrees of east longitude 
and between the Southern Ocean and the 26th degree of 
south latitude." In 1861 was added a vast tract of country 
known as No Man's Land, situated between the western 
boundary of the province and the eastern boundary of 
Western Australia. This extension covered 80,000 square 
miles. Two years later there came the important inclusion 
of the Northern Territory, which stretches northward from 
the 26th degree of south latitude to the Indian Ocean and 
eastward from the 129th to the 138th degree. From this 
time, therefore, until the recent separation of the Northern 
Territory, South Australia boasted of a total area of over 
900,000 square miles. 

To cope with the additional work entailed by increase 
of population and territorial expansion it was, of course, 
necessary to raise the strength of the police force. From an 
official return of 1851 we find the number of officers and men 
given as 134, the expenditure being 12,770 19s. In 1855 
there were 252, including 45 black trackers, and the cost to 
the State had nearly quadrupled itself. Under Major 
Warburton a reduction in numbers to 176 men took place, 
with a consequent decrease in expenditure, and at this low 
strength the force remained for several years. In 1872 
twelve more men were added to the ranks. The next six 
years saw further increases, until in 1878 the number em- 
ployed was 307. In 1884 the figures were 438, by this time 
the cost having amounted to 98, 594 18$, 6d, The disparity 

_ 357 -. 


between this expenditure and that of 1851 is partly to be 
accounted for by the increase in the rate of pay. In the 
earlier days a trooper received 3s. Id. per day ; in less than 
thirty years the minimum wage was raised to 75. 6d. 

While, in comparison with New South Wales and 
Victoria, South Australia has enjoyed remarkable im- 
munity from bushranging there have been no desperadoes 
of the Morgan and Kelly type it has had its own eras of 
crime. During the first twenty-five years of its existence 
horse-stealing and cattle-duffing were prevalent in the 
colony, but the energetic measures of the mounted police 
were successful in stamp ing these out. We have dealt with 
some notable cases in the present chapter. In later years, 
particularly since the acquisition of the Northern Territory, 
the main troubles have been with the aborigines. To nar- 
rate one instance of this latter kind is enough to show what 
has to be contended with. The story is almost invariably 
the same. A prospector, or other solitary white, falls in 
with a party of blacks. He has provisions, or weapons, or 
other articles of value in the native estimation, and an early 
opportunity is found to murder him. Then the tragedy 
becomes a dread secret of the bush until native gossip or 
some chance discovery of his remains brings the matter into 
the light of day. 

It was so with poor Tom Egan, prospector, who was 
speared by a black at the Robinson River in the far north 
in May 1909. Egan was presumably travelling in the 
direction of Borroloola, when he lost his way. On the east 
bank of the river he encountered Pupelee, aboriginal, in 
company with the latter's lubra (wife), three children, and 
another woman. At first the blacks appeared to be friendly, 
giving the unfortunate man some food and acceding to his 



request that they should guide him to the township. But 
during the evening, while the party camped and Egan set 
about making his billy boil on the fire, Pupelee seized his 
stone-headed spears and plunged them into his victim's side. 
The body was afterwards thrown into the river. Then 
Pupelee, having appropriated such of the dead man's be- 
longings as he coveted, went on trek again with his family 
until R. Stott, Mounted Constable of Borroloola, brought 
him to justice. 

The story of police work in the Northern Territory 
demands a chapter to itself, for it is there that the most 
arduous work of the Australian trooper policeman is en- 
countered. It is time now to consider the South Australian 
force as it is to-day, under the able control of Commissioner 
W. H. Raymond, who succeeded Colonel Madley in January 
1910. Like so many other officers, the present Chief rose 
to his position from the ranks, having passed through 
all grades. He joined the force in 1865, and has thus seen 
forty-six years of service. 

From the most recent Report we learn that the total 
strength of the force is 421, a number which cannot lead any 
one to say that the State is over-policed. 1 In 1885 the 
figure stood at 438, and since that date the population has 
increased by over 108,000. The mounted branch, exclusive 
of those on service in the far north, accounts for 168 officers 
and men, with whom there are eighteen black trackers. 
This little force, only four hundred odd strong, is distributed 
over the following six divisions, the headquarters being 
given in brackets : Metropolitan (Adelaide), Central 

1 The total expenditure for the year ending June 30, 1910, exclusive 
of the Northern Territory, was 88,936, showing an average cost per head 
of the population of a little over 4. 3d. 



Division (Adelaide), South-Eastern (Mount Gambier), 
Northern (Port Pirie), Far Northern (Port Augusta), and 
Northern Territory (Palmerston). Each of these divisions 
is in charge of an Inspector, for the rank of Superintendent 
is no longer recognised ; and below that officer are Sub- 
Inspectors who have command of separate stations. 1 

It is naturally outside the Metropolitan area that the 
trooper police are mostly employed. You will find them at 
home in the salt-bush country, in the scrub ; you will 
meet them by lake and river, by forest camp fire and in the 
shearers' huts. And you will meet them, further, on horse 
and camel in the desolate wastes of the great stony deserts. 
The scrub land of South Australia must be seen to be appre- 
ciated. There is nothing quite like it in any of the Eastern 
States. Extending principally over the north and eastern 
parts of the province, it takes the form of long stretches of 
barren arid plains, the soil always of poor description 
varying from clay to pure sand. It is largely rocky and is 
destitute of water. What vegetation manages to thrive is 















JS * 

c$ O2 


















Metropolitan Police . 
Mounted Police . 












Detective Police . 





Foot Police in country 




Port and Water Police 





Total .... 












Northern Territory . 






Grand total . 














of a stunted character, spinifex growing in tufts, kangaroo 
grass, and a variety of small shrubs. Looking out across 
an expanse of this country, as in the Murray region, one is 
struck by its dead monotony. Except where any clump of 
trees is to be seen, the scrub is of a level height of a few feet, 
and of a uniform bluish-green colour. It is monotonous 
and depressing to the eye, and yet in its seasons it has 
a charm of its own. Many of the shrubs bear flowers of 
delicate beauty, while the rainy months bring into being 
thousands of terrestrial orchids that give an added touch of 

That portion known as the Mallee scrub is clothed with 
dwarf species of eucalyptus, twelve or fourteen feet in height 
and thickly studded together. These willow-like trees have 
no branches and are of a dark brown colour. The area 
sometimes covered by them in an unbroken mass, is two 
or three thousand miles in extent. Hardly less formidable 
is the Mulga scrub, which consists of small acacias, grey 
bushy plants of varying size and height and possessing 
spiny branches. One meets with this type of country in 
several parts of South Australia and in the Coolgardie gold- 
fields district of Western Australia. 

Where the salt-bush grows the stockman finds good 
pastoral country. This shrub, which is most plentiful in 
the northern districts, withstands the intense heat of the 
summer sun when all else round it is parched and withered. 
On its ever-fresh leaves the sheep can feed and maintain an 
existence through a period of drought. 

The scrub land is to be avoided, for it is easy for the 
traveller to lose his way therein and perish miserably for 
want of water. But more terrible is the region of the stony 
deserts in the interior. Here the sun beats down merci- 



lessly and makes the rough ground so hot to the feet as to 
be unbearable. So Sturt, the explorer, found it on that 
memorable journey of his in 1845. All the water-holes had 
dried up, the horses were in a constant perspiration, and the 
stirrup-irons burnt their riders' boots. " The ground," 
says Sturt in his journal, " was thoroughly heated to the 
depth of three or four feet, and the tremendous heat that 
prevailed had parched the vegetation and drawn moisture 
from everything. The mean of the thermometer for the 
months of December, January, and February had been 
101, 104, and 101 respectively in the shade. Under its 
effects every screw in our boxes had been drawn, and the 
horn handles of our instruments, as well as our combs, were 
split into fine laminse. The lead dropped out of our pencils, 
our signal rockets were entirely spoiled, our hair, as well as 
the wool on the sheep, ceased to grow, and our nails had 
become as brittle as glass. The flour lost more than eight 
per cent, of its original weight, and the other provisions in 
a still greater proportion. The bran in which our bacon had 
been packed was perfectly saturated, and weighed almost 
as heavy as the meat ; we were obliged to bury our wax 
candles, a bottle of citric acid became fluid and, escaping, 
burnt a quantity of linen ; and we found it difficult to write 
or draw, so rapidly did the fluid dry in our pens and brushes." 
As it was then, so is it now. Central Australia in many 
parts offers no attractions to the settler. But into this un- 
inviting wilderness of scrub, sand and rock, the trooper 
policeman must venture at the call of duty. We who live 
for the most part in settled districts, with all the accom- 
paniments of civilisation, can have little idea of what life is 
like amid such surroundings. Now and then the story of a 
trooper's bravery in handling a mob of turbulent blacks 



comes down to the settlements and finds a note in the news- 
papers. Now and then one hears of a plucky dash into 
the desert to rescue some lost traveller from the terrors of 
death by thirst and starvation. But how many hundreds of 
unrecorded acts of heroism have there been, all equally 
deserving of commemoration ? Only the bushman, perhaps, 
can tell, but he is a notoriously silent person. And from 
the lips of the police themselves you will learn little. 

If we read the Police Manual we find that " the duties and 
powers of a mounted constable differ in no respect from those 
of an ordinary police constable," but the reality is far from 
the case. No doubt it was originally intended to be so, 
both in South Australia and other States. The development 
of the country, however, and the exigencies of the service 
under an economical government, have made this rule much 
" honoured in the breach." To-day the mounted policeman 
has to perform duties of a multifarious character. He may 
be called upon to act as bailiff, Crown Lands Ranger, assist- 
ant Inspector of Schools (making sure that all the children 
in his particular neighbourhood are sent to school), issuer 
of mining and other licences, and registrar in several 
capacities ; while and this does not exhaust the list, by any 
means he is expected to collect jury lists for the Sheriff 
and agricultural statistics for the Under Secretary of State, 
to take note of cases of destitution and report to the Destitute 
Board accordingly, to destroy vermin and give certificates 
to scalp-hunters. 

These are the extraneous duties, mostly. As policeman, 
the sole representative, maybe, of the law in his district, he 
has plenty of ordinary work to get through. When in charge 
of a station he must patrol the country around his post and 
keep a daily journal of all transactions ; he must acquaint 



himself with the people and the physical character of the 
district ; he must watch and report upon suspicious persons ; 
in many cases besides making arrests he must act as Crown 
Prosecutor. Your trooper of the back-blocks, then, must 
needs be a man of resource and aptitude, of firm resolve and 
quick decision. Not only has he white settlers to look after, 
but those far more difficult children of nature, the blacks. 
In drawing a comparison between the Canadian North- 
West Mounted trooper and his Australian brother in this 
respect, there is no question but that the latter has the 
harder task to perform. The North American Indian, 
with his " reservation " and store clothes, is a child of peace, a 
Sunday School scholar, compared to the uncivilised, or only 
half-civilised, aboriginal of the Southern Continent. Through- 
out the vast interior the blacks are constantly on the move 
in scattered tribes or parties, living from hand to mouth 
and, except in a few instances, scorning the protection and 
help of the Government. Among these nomads there is 
incessant warfare. One tribe spears another almost as a 
matter of duty, and certainly with keen enjoyment, these 
raids being varied at intervals by cattle-killing. 

For work in the central parts of South Australia the 
camel has become an all-important feature. On the great 
inland plains, so largely covered with spinifex, the horse was 
at first superseded by the bullock, but this useful draught 
animal made slow progress in the course of a day's journey. 
Ten miles a day is said to be a fair average for a bullock 
team. The camel, on the other hand, is capable of doing 
eighty-four miles in eighteen hours, with a load of three hun- 
dred pounds on his back, and he possesses a remarkable 
ability to do without water for a lengthened period. He can 
find his own living wherever he may be. It will be under- 


Showing adjustable stock affixed and detached. 


stood, therefore, how settlers were ready to give a welcome 
to the ship of the desert when the experiment of importa- 
tion was made. 

As we have seen, camels were used in the Burke and 
Wills exploring expedition of 1860. They were not brought 
into South Australia, however, in any numbers until 1866, 
when Sir Thomas Elder landed 109 animals with a view to 
establishing a herd. After some ups and downs, owing to 
diseases which it took some time to stamp out, these became 
acclimatised and throve satisfactorily. Eventually the in- 
habitants of the outlying districts came to appreciate the 
great value of the camel, and more had to be imported. 
In 1884 there was a shipment of 661, since when the demand 
has been met largely by home-bred animals. In the mounted 
police service the camel has played an important part. 
Commissioner Peterswald first recognised the difficulties 
confronting the troopers stationed far to the north, and it 
was at his instance that a police camel depot was established 
at Beltana. For hunting down criminals, as well as for other 
work entailing long journeys inland, these animals have 
been used extensively. A trooper on camel-back is a 
familiar sight in many portions of the interior. 

In the matter of training the South Australian force 
follows very much the same system as is in vogue in New 
South Wales and Victoria. The recruit for the mounted 
branch is taught riding and the use of arms, and is put 
through a semi-military course that turns him out a thor- 
oughly efficient unit. At the Adelaide depot the mounted 
men are under the care of Sub-Inspector Orr, an officer 
whose forty-two years of service include a long term in the 
Northern Territory. Another instructor, and one of whom 
the public probably know much less, is Shimna, a champion 



wrestler from Japan. This individual gives special lessons 
in the art of ju-jitsu. Although it is not compulsory, the 
majority of the troopers avail themselves of his teaching. 

For many years past the principal arm of the mounted 
police has been the Smith and Wesson revolver-carbine 
with detachable stock, enabling it to [be used either as 
revolver or carbine. This is a trustworthy, far-reaching 
weapon, but it is likely to be superseded ere long by one of 
lighter make. Except for bush work, swords are still worn, 
the touch of smartness which they give being a point that is 
not overlooked. 

The uniform of the troopers has been a matter of par- 
ticular consideration to several Commissioners. The State 
likes to see its men turned out in a soldier-like fashion. 
After the eighties light-fitting riding breeches of Bedford 
cord took the place of the old-time trousers, and riding-boots 
were introduced. The old glazed peaked cap in time was 
superseded by a light pith helmet, white in summer and blue 
in winter. Of late years a peaked cap with a white band 
has been 'more popular for winter wear. The tunic still 
remains of blue cloth, bringing it into line with the general 
uniform adopted in other States. 

Lastly, a word as to pay. Starting at 7s. 6d. per day, a 
mounted constable of the third class rises to a wage of 85. 6d. 
Senior constables receive 9s., corporals 9s. 6d., and ser- 
geants 105. 6d. From the Police Fund, which was established 
some years back, pensions are provided for those who retire 
after a certain term of service, while a portion of it is devoted 
to rewards for meritorious acts. 




Early history Exploration McDouall Stuart Annexation Port 
Darwin founded Mounted police Criminal elements Trooper 
Donegan Bogus Customs officers Borroloola Shanty-keepers 
Burnt out The Territory to-day Native question A back-blocks 
tragedy Troopers Holland and Dempsey Sub-Inspector Waters 
Inspector Foelsche The northern black A startling experience 
Out on patrol The brighter side The new province. 

FOR forty-seven years South Australia has administered 
the vast tract of the continent known as the Northern 
Territory. Its history briefly is as follows. In the early 
years of the last century military settlements were formed 
at Melville Island and later at Port Essington, but these 
were eventually abandoned. For a long time the region 
remained practically a sealed book to the world. Then 
came the explorers Leichhardt, Gregory and Stuart, working 
their way northward from the south and east, and bit by 
bit the nature of the country between Central Australia and 
the northern ocean became known. To John McDouall 
Stuart, who crossed the continent from Adelaide to Adams 
Bay in 1862, belongs the credit of opening up this immense 
and valuable area. He recognised its possibilities of develop- 
ment, its rich natural resources, and it was his advocacy that 
induced the South Australian Government in 1863 to 
formally annex it. Since that date, until last year, it has 



been controlled from Adelaide, with a Resident whose head- 
quarters have been at Port Darwin. 

The first attempt at settlement after annexation was 
projected in 1864, when the Government disposed of a 
considerable quantity of land and sent Mr. B. T. Finniss to 
the Territory to superintend the surveying. Mr. Finniss 
proved unsuccessful in his object, the spot he chose for 
headquarters being objected to by the landowners. Conse- 
quently he was recalled and the work was left to Mr. G. W. 
Goyder, the Survey or- General of the colony. The latter 
gentleman selected Port Darwin and its immediate neigh- 
bourhood as the base of operations, and the wisdom of his 
choice was evidenced by the flourishing state of the com- 
munity that in time gathered there. 

With the settlers went the trooper police to take their 
share of the pioneer work. Particularly were they needed, 
as has been said, to keep in check the native tribes, who 
were only too ready to resent this fresh intrusion of whites. 
The blacks of the far north retain more of their pristine 
savagery than their brothers of the south. To the mounted 
constables, therefore, has fallen no light task in preserving 
the Pax Britannica in this wild region. It was the police 
who helped materially to carry the great overland telegraph 
across the interior from Adelaide to Port Darwin in 1870-2. 
The wires and poles were not tampered with for good 
reason, 1 but the operators at the stations were frequently 
attacked, and many an exciting chase after the culprits fell 
to the troopers' lot. 

The blacks, however, were not alone in making work 

1 As a precaution against any meddling on the part of the natives 
the telegraph men gave many of them electric shocks from the wires. 
This alarmed the blacks beyond measure, and the " whitefellow's devil " 
was held in such awe far and wide that no one dared touch the wires. 



for the mounted police in the early days. In the country 
were already the brumby hunters, men who rounded up the 
wild horses of the ranges and herded them into Queensland, 
where there was a market for the animals. The hunters 
were usually a rough class, and many very many of them 
took to cattle-duffing. Their ways and wiles will be dealt 
with in a separate chapter, and need not detain us here. 
In addition were hundreds of illicit grog-sellers, among the 
slimmest of law-breakers. These two classes of criminals 
provided a large share of the excitement incident to life in 
the wilds, and the police never had to complain of being idle. 

Mr. Alfred Searcey, who for fourteen years acted as 
Sub-Collector of Customs at Port Darwin, tells in his book l 
of the trials and troubles of some of the mounted men. 
Trooper Donegan, a big Irishman and the first policeman 
to be stationed at Borroloola, had a long and full experience. 
Here is a sample : 

" The outlaws had a playful habit of making off with the 
police horses. On one occasion Donegan and his trackers 
had to follow them a hundred miles before they recovered the 
horses. One day two Chinamen turned up at the M'Arthur 
police-station, and reported that they had been stopped at 
the Robinson River by three men who said they were 
Customs officers, and who collected 20 a head poll-tax. 
Donegan and his mate Curtis, with a tracker and one of 
the victims, left to pay a visit to the self-appointed officers. 
On arrival at the shanty the police party were received by 
twelve armed men, who threatened bloodshed if they were 
interfered with. Two of the men the Chinaman recognised. 
At a sign from Donegan, his mate and the Chinaman jumped 
behind trees and covered the crowd with their rifles. Done- 

1 In Australian Tropics. 


gan sang out, ' Shoot the first man that moves ! ' With 
that he and the tracker walked up to the crowd, revolvers 
in hand, disarmed the two men identified, and handcuffed 
them. He and his tracker then retired with their prisoners 
some hundred yards behind Curtis and the Chinaman. 
Donegan and the tracker then covered the crowd, while 
Curtis and the Celestial retired. This they continued to do 
until some distance away. Having spare horses, the 
prisoners were mounted. A chain was passed round the 
horses' necks and then padlocked to the prisoners. The 
men in due course were punished. 

" The other Customs officer (?) it was found out was an 
out-and-out scoundrel named Monaghan. Some time 
afterwards this man was arrested at Corrella Downs Station 
for horse-stealing. A trooper named Smith had to escort 
him to the M'Arthur. When getting ready to shift from 
their camp one morning, and while Smith was rolling up 
his swag, the tracker at the time being after the horses, 
Monaghan hit Smith over the head with a stick and 
stunned him. He then bound him to a tree and shot the 
black tracker dead when he came in with the horses. This 
fair specimen of the outlaws knocking about the country at 
this time then made off with horses, arms, and camp fixings. 
He has never been heard of since." 

Before a magistrate and a few police were sent up to 
Borroloola the district round that settlement had an unen- 
viable reputation. It was the haunt, or rather sanctuary, 
for which criminals made from all parts of Australia. Queens- 
landers from over the border found it a useful hiding-place. 
The owner of a store might reckon on a lively time if he 
managed to fall foul of one of these ruffians. One such, it is 
said, gave offence to a certain gang, so they coolly stood off 



a few yards and emptied their Winchesters into the building, 
quite regardless of the fact that the proprietor was inside ! 
He only escaped death by crouching low behind a big gal- 
vanised iron case. 

Much of the population of the northern districts was of a 
floating character. Cattlemen, shearers, and station hands 
of all sorts, came and went, bringing with them often, fat 
cheques and leaving the bulk, if not all, behind them with 
the shanty-keepers. These hawks were ever on the look- 
out for their prey, and had many devices to wheedle the 
money out of their customers' pockets. " They were a 
terrible curse," says Mr. Searcey, " not alone to the poor 
bushmen, but to the squatters in whose country they settled, 
for they were the means of drawing numbers of cattle and 
horse thieves about the place. I knew the owner of a station 
who was thus afflicted. He tried many means of getting rid 
of the shanty-man and his wife a bad lot, the pair, regular 
outlaws but failed. As a last resource he put a fire-stick 
into the tent and brush buildings, the whole lot being 
burned with the stock of spirits and ale." 

Itinerant grog-shops, run by men who possessed vans 
and horses, sometimes took the place of these liquor-dens. 
They were similarly stocked with illicit spirits. But the 
hand of the police was hard upon offenders, and the day of 
their rejoicing is past. The Territory has been pretty well 
cleared of these gentry. There is still, of course, the bush 
pub., which is a licensed house but which so often retails 
the vilest liquor, so the station hand can " blue " his cheque as 
joyously as he ever did in olden time, and as he doubtless 
will continue to do. 

Of the Northern Territory at the present day from a 
police point of view, we have a glimpse in a succinct report 



submitted by Sub-Inspector Waters, the officer in charge. He 
says : " The return shows a decrease of 79 in offences 
reported and 66 in persons arrested, the principal decreases 
being assaults, gambling, supplying opium to aborigines, etc. 
The natives in the Victoria River district have been unusually 
active in committing depredations, and it will require more 
than ordinary activity on the part of the police to keep 
them in order. It is only in rare instances that offenders 
have been brought to justice, and complainants frequently 
decline to prosecute, even when an attempt is made to 
murder, in consequence of enormous distance to a court of 
justice ; and should the suggested appointment of justices 
in that district be approved I recommend that a police 
prison be established at Timber Creek, to avoid the travelling 
of prisoners a distance of 450 miles to Palmerston. The 
lack of mail and telegraphic communication with that district 
tends to the commission of crime, as persons aggrieved will 
not travel such a distance to report. The coast natives 
from Queensland border to King River and Cape Ford to the 
West Australian border are very treacherous and speak 
no English, and for the better protection of persons whose 
business is there the coast should occasionally be visited by 
police, but at present no boat is available. Natives are, with 
but few exceptions, well treated by their employers, but for 
their general protection it is sincerely hoped that a workable 
Aborigines Act will be passed. I need hardly point out that 
the conditions of natives in the Territory is very different 
to those in the South ; consequently I submit the law for this 
part of the State should be framed to meet the different 
conditions. There are many old and indigent Chinese in the 
Territory who subsist as best they can, and but few crimes 
have been committed by them." 

7T- 372 -w 


The native question is still a great problem in the north, 
although the number of the blacks is not excessively large. 
Human life is held cheaply by the aboriginal when the taking 
of it helps him to some of this world's goods. It is not so long 
back that a couple of bushmen were murdered by blacks 
simply for the iron rims upon the wheels of their van. As 
elsewhere in the back-blocks of Australia, too, the lonely 
selector must be on his guard against treachery, for even his 
own native servants are not always to be trusted. Witness 
the melancholy case of W. J. J. Ward, done to death on the 
Humbert River early last year. The reports of this tragedy, 
as sent in by the trooper who investigated it, make interest- 
ing reading, in that they convey to us a clear idea of how 
the mounted police carry out their arduous duties. They 
are worth giving at some length. 

In his first statement U. W. Holland, Mounted Constable, 
of Timber Creek Police Station, says : 

" To Sub-Inspector T. N. Waters, Palmerston. 

" SIR, I have the honour to report for your information 
that on the 12th inst. (March, 1910), John Yates called here 
from Fraynes and reported that W. J. J. Ward had been 
murdered by blacks on the Humbert River. He stated that 
the information came from a lubra who was in Ward's 
employ and is now in the Ord River country, and who some 
time ago came into Wickham's place. On being questioned 
as to Ward's whereabouts she told a very tragic story. She 
stated that, getting up one morning to go after Ward's 
horses, she took Ward's Mauser pistol unawares to Ward. 
Whilst out she met some blacks and told them she had 
Ward's only firearm. The blacks then surrounded the camp 
and put in appearance to Ward, who ran inside to get his 

273 T 


firearm, but seeing it was stolen he made an attempt to 
escape through one door, but it was too late, as the blacks 
had him cornered. Seeing his position he attempted to 
escape through the opposite door, where he was again met 
by blacks, who stabbed him to death with a shovel-spear, or 
butcher's knife on a spear shaft, torturing him meanwhile 
by pulling out his whiskers. After fulfilling their wicked 
deed they threw spears and stones at the body and held a 
corrobboree over it, then put it in a stump and went through 
the performance of spear and stone-throwing again. Then 
the body was thrown in a water-hole. Two civilised boys 
then mounted two of Ward's horses and rounded up some 
cattle and shot all that they wanted. 

" This sounds somewhat like a romance, and I dare say 
is exaggerated by Yates, and if this lubra is on the Ord 
River, Constable S. C. Dempsey will most probably learn 
the truth of the tragedy. Yates did not know who any of 
the murderers were. 

" I have the honour to be, Sir, 
" Your obedient servant, 

" U. W. HOLLAND, M.C." 

The next report to Sub-Inspector Waters is as follows : 

" SIR, I have the honour to report for your information 
leaving this station on ISthinst. (March). From what John 
Yates stated here concerning the murder of W. J. J. Ward, a 
pastoralist, I arrived at the Humbert River on 16th instant 
and made a careful inspection of the hut and surroundings. 
From all appearances no person had been there for some 
considerable time. The long grass had grown over the 
stock yards and almost up to the hut doors. On making 
a careful inspection of the doors I discovered a few blood 



splashes on both sides of one door, but nothing further was 
seen to warrant that the murder had been committed there. 
A careful search for blood-stained weapons was made by 
tracker and myself, but none found. A careful search in the 
locality was made for the body by tracker and myself without 
success. The blood stains on the door suggest that the 
murder was committed therein, and if human blood, it 
corroborates Yates' story as far as making the escape through 
the back door is concerned. In my own personal experi- 
ence with Ward, from what I could gather this back door 
was never used or opened. On my examination it appeared 
to have been opened in a hurry, thus leaving just about 
enough room for a man to squeeze through. I afterwards 
mustered Ward's horses, nine and two foals, together, all 
the effects as per journal 25th instant, and brought them to 
Timber Creek. I made stringent inquiries amongst the 
natives at Victoria River Downs on 21st instant, and they 
seemed to know nothing of the murderers. I have been 
informed that S. C. Dempsey is around towards the Western 
Australian border in pursuit of the murderers. Until his 
return there is little or no clue to work up. 

" I have the honour to be, Sir, 
"Your obedient servant, 
"U. W. HOLLAND, M.C." 

In the following June considerable progress had been 
made. Holland writes from Timber Greek thus : 

" SIR, I have the honour to report leaving this station on 
18th May in company with S. C. Dempsey, and proceeding 
to Victoria River Downs in search of natives implicated in 
the alleged murder of William J. J. Ward on the Humbert 
River. We arrived at Victoria Downs on 25th May, and that 



morning at daylight arrested George Abaduk, alleged to have 
been a principal in the murder of Ward, and a boy named 
Possum, pointed out by a woman, 'Topsy,'as being seen by 
her on the Humbert River. I left Victoria Downs on 28th 
May to search for Henry Bening, reported as being lost, and 
returned on 6th June, which subject forms a separate report. 
That night a native named ' Gordon/ who is really the 
principal in the Humbert River murder, came into the station 
and speared a boy employed there, known as Murphy, but 
not fatally. All hands turned out to chase Gordon, but he 
swam the river and got away in the dark. On 9th June a 
party was formed consisting of Henry Bening, a Victoria 
Downs stockman, myself and Tracker Charlie, with two 
private * boys ' and the natives George and Possum detained 
from the 25th ultimo. All the party carried firearms, except 
the last-named two natives, as the blacks in the locality are 
treacherous. Gordon's tracks were found and followed that 
day to a place called Whitewater. 

" On the 10th several tracks were discovered and it was 
surmised that Gordon had joined the rest of the tribe. Here 
the country became mountainous, with immense outcrops of 
sandstone. The horses were here left and the party pro- 
ceeded on foot. On discovering the natives had crossed 
over the mountains and were bearing westward across a 
stretch of plain the party returned to the horses. The 
following day (llth) the party crossed the before-mentioned 
plain and there left the horses and plant in a safe and suit- 
able spot. The party then proceeded across the mountains 
on foot, as it was impossible to follow the tracks on horses. 
The newness of tracks and camps suggested that there was a 
reasonable chance of overtaking the natives in a few days. 
As the ground was fearfully rough with numerous caves, 



fissures and high sandstone cliffs/the party took as few 
rations as possible, so that they might not be encumbered. 
After travelling about ten miles on the 12th, very recent 
tracks were found in a patch of sandy ground in the vicinity 
of Light Creek. .These tracks, according to my native 
boys in the party, were those of Gordon, Moroun, Longanna, 
Walgarra and another native, whose tracks they were 
acquainted with, and who it isjiow alleged are the chief per- 
petrators of the Humbert River crime. About 3 p.m., while 
the party was following these tracks along a rough stony 
creek, our attention was drawn by the barking of dogs up 
on the bank amongst the high grass. On discovering that 
this was a native camp, and in it some of the natives we were 
in pursuit of, I gave orders to the party to retreat in case of 
being discovered by the natives before we could surround 
their camp in a proper manner so as to prevent any from 
escaping. This was carried out successfully. 

" On recognising Gordon every precaution was taken by 
the party to effect his arrest or that of any other native who 
was implicated in the crime. On closer observation only 
two natives and three gins were seen in the camp, namely 
Gordon and Mudgela, Gordon's two gins, Tapo and Lu-Lu, 
and a third woman. The other natives ostensibly were 
out hunting. Seizing an opportunity myself and private 
boy Jimmy rose up out of the grass and called upon Gordon 
to stand, at the same time George and Possum (two natives 
of this tribe detained) told Gordon to sit down and no more 
be frightened as they would not be harmed. Immediately 
Gordon sprang up and threw a spear at Jimmy, who was close 
to me. The boy fortunately just dodged the well-aimed 
deadly weapon by bowing down and causing the spear to 
just miss him, but by very little. This was done with keen 



judgment and vivacity, so close did it go that it left a streak 
of red ochre in its course along the boy's back. 

" This was followed by Gordon breaking through the 
party as if to make for shelter. On reaching the mass of 
boulders he turned around and slipped another spear in his 
woomera (thro wing-stick) and was in the act of hurling it at 
me or the boy, Jimmy, when Jimmy shot him. He (Gordon) 
was afterwards buried by myself and H. Bening on the spot 
where he met his death. The other natives made their escape. 
The gin, ' Lu-Lu,' was afterwards captured by the party and 
brought to Timber Creek and detained as a witness in con- 
nection with the Ward murder. The party then returned, 
as Bening became ill and was unable to continue any further 
search ; likewise I deemed it advisable to let the natives 
settle down for awhile, and return to Timber Creek to re- 
plenish supplies and shoe horses afresh for an extended 
search for the other offending natives. Statement signed 
by Henry Bening and the natives who accompanied me and 
witnessed the shooting, attached. 

" I have the honour to be, Sir, 

" Your obedient servant, 


" To T. N. WATERS, Esq., 
" Sub-Inspector of Police, 
" Palmerston." 

In the light of corroborative evidence the following are 
interesting : 

" Statement made by Jimmy, Aboriginal. 

" I savee Gordon, him come along Station and spearum 
Murphy. I bin hearum him kill Buglow (W. J. J. Ward). 
I follow him up longa Mr. Holland, four fellow day me and 



allabout bin find that one Gordon and Mudgela longa camp 
longa Light Creek. Mr. Holland say * round em up, catch 
that one Gordon/ Bye and bye him bin say no more run 
away. Then I yabba sit down quiet fellow to Gordon, him 
then throw one big fellow shovel spear at me, close up catch 
me, him run longa back. Him cheeky fellow, him put 
nother spear longa womra close up throw him when I bin 
think it might him finish us up altogether, and I bin shoot 

him then. 

" JIMMY x His mark. 
" Witnessed by Henry Bening." 

" Statement made by Possum, Aboriginal. 

" I savee Gordon him come alonga Wickham Station 
one night when I bin there alonga Mr. Holland, I bin hear 
row and allabout boy bin talk Gordon spear Murphy that 
one be bin kill Buglow too (W. J. J. Ward). I bin leavum 
station longa Mr. Holland and go follow up Gordon. We 
been follow um track up for four fellow day. Me and 
allabout find Gordon and Mudgela longa Camp on Light 
Creek, some fellow gin there too. I bin savee Gordon track 
and allabout blackfellow, and when we close fellow Mr. 
Holland bin talk. ' We go back quiet fellow and round um 
up.' Bye and bye we bin round em up, allabout talk sit 
down quiet fellow, no more be frightened, no more run away. 
Gordon then jump up and throw spear longa Jimmy close 
up kill him, him make um mark longa back. Him have 
nother one spear longa womra close up throw him and 
Jimmy bin shoot him then. 

" Possum x His Mark. 
" Witnessed by A. J. A. White, M.C. 2nd Class." 

In the end Trooper Holland was successful in arresting 
Mudgela and two other natives, Walgarra and Longanna. 



who were implicated in the deed. Longanna regained his 
freedom by breaking the lock of his chain, but his companions 
in crime were in due course tried and sentenced to death. 
The promptness with which this murder was investigated 
and avenged was not without its result on the Victoria 
River tribes, and the Palmerston judge who heard the 
case very properly commended the two officers concerned 
for their energy. On this duty Trooper Holland travelled 
about 1,000 miles. 

Sub-Inspector T. N. Waters, to whom reference has been 
made, is an officer who has seen long and varied service in 
the far north. Of him many stories are told. Not the 
least troublesome of the floating coastal population are the 
pearling crews whites and Japanese and Manila men 
and Port Darwin has witnessed some great pitched battles 
between these and the representatives of the law. At the 
head of his troopers the big burly sergeant (as he then was) 
would sail in like a whirlwind, and the number of broken 
heads bore ample testimony to the prowess of the police. 

" I have seen Waters," said one old resident, " pick up a 
prisoner by the scruff of his neck and walk off with him at 
arm's-length, the man's feet trailing on the ground." 

Another well-known mounted police officer of the Terri- 
tory is Inspector Paul Foelsche. Probably no one knows 
the northern native and his ways so well, and certainly no 
one has inspired them with so much respect. In times of 
unrest he has been a power in the land in the restoration of 
order. The Cape Brogden massacre of 1892, when a Malay 
proa's crew was killed by blacks, saw him energetically to the 
fore. After a fairly long chase the murderers were cornered 
and the tribe taught the lesson that retribution inevitably 
follows upon escapades of this nature. 



The question is often asked : But is not the Australian 
black dying out ? To this the answer is emphatically yes. 
At the present time the southern portion of the continent 
contains very few natives. In New South Wales and 
Victoria together there are only about eight thousand ; 
South Australia numbers some three thousand. Queens- 
land and Western Australia, on the other hand, have re- 
spectively about 20,000 and 30,000, for in these States are 
greater areas of unsettled, still wild country. The figures 
given can only be approximate. The nomadic population 
of Cape York Peninsula in the north-east, and of the 
Kimberley districts in the north-west, cannot be exactly 
estimated. And this is much the case in the far north. 
Driven thence by the expansion of settlements, the aborigines 
range over the Territory at will, living on the game and 
natural products of the land what time they do not raid 
their white neighbours' cattle. They are several thousands 
strong and admittedly of a savage disposition. But in 
noting this fact one need not take a too alarmist view. 
Such troubles as arise can be dealt with satisfactorily by the 
small force of police available. The blacks rarely gather in 
large numbers, and there is no cohesion among the different 
tribes. That they are steadily decreasing is the natural 
sequence of conflict with civilisation ; it is only in accord- 
ance with the general law that governs the contact of a 
black race with a white one. 1 

In the meantime, having regard to the circumstances 

1 The annual increase of half-castes is relatively large and is an un- 
doubted factor in determining the elimination of the race. In New South 
Wales last year the aboriginal population consisted of 2,123 full-bloods 
and 5,247 half-castes. In South Australia the nine years 1901 to 1910 
show a decrease of 576 blacks and an increase of 171 half-castes ; there 
are about 800 of the latter now in the State. 



of life in the wilder regions, the isolated settler and the 
traveller who does not take the precaution to ally himself 
to a party must run the risk to which they are exposed. 
It may not always be a big risk, but it exists as surely in 
savage Australia as it has existed in South Africa or any 
other colony where similar pioneer conditions have obtained. 
To be forewarned is to be forearmed. The " old hand," 
when he pitches his camp in what is termed "bad nigger 
country," will sling his mosquito net, light a fire and set 
the billy a-boil over it, and then find a safer sleeping-place 
some distance away. 

The experience of a couple of bushmen known to the 
writer will serve to illustrate this point. They were up- 
country on the western border and on camping one night 
they both turned in under one net in the bush, leaving the 
other in position by their waggon. In the morning they 
woke to make an unpleasant discovery. They had been 
robbed of their stores by some natives, whose tracks on the 
rough ground were plainly discernible, and they had had a 
narrow escape from death. Close by the mosquito net 
under which they had slept were tracks which told a startling 
story. A native had stood on guard by them, with spear 
poised in his hand, the while his fellows were stealthily pur- 
loining their goods. Had they roused at any noise the 
spear would have descended instantly, for the keen eyes of 
the black must have been watching for the bulge in the net 
that would have been caused by a raised head. 

Chasing horse-thieves and cattle-duffers, not to mention 
worse criminals, and keeping in order unruly natives, re- 
presents the dark side of a mounted policeman's life in the 
north. But to a man to whom the free open-air life appeals 
there are compensations. The Territory is tropical country, 



magnificent in its vegetation and prolific in animal life. It 
is a country where everything is on a grand scale and where 
nature is continually unfolding a new wonder before one's 

Of this other side to a policeman's life Mr. Searcey writes : 
" Still they (the troopers) had glorious times. Just imagine 
starting out on a patrol for three or four months, with a 
dozen good horses well-packed with necessary stores, and 
plenty of arms and ammunition. They did the journey in 
their own time, and were their own masters in every way. 
There was abundance of food and water for the animals, 
and a standing authority from the station owners and 
managers to shoot any of the cattle if beef were required. 
There was the certainty of a hearty welcome at such stations 
as they might call at. It was a charming and entrancing 
country to ride over, the scenery being almost too beautiful 
for description. This was especially so in the early morning, 
when the sun as it rose lifted the mantle of mist and disclosed 
a magnificent panorama of fine trees, amongst which were 
the pandanus, cabbage palm, Leichhardt pine, paper bark 
and fig. The large lagoons teemed with game and fish, and 
were always covered with lilies. The big winding rivers, 
well defined by giant trees growing thickly along the banks 
as far as the eye could see, the beautiful waterfalls, the grand 
valleys, the extensive, well-grassed plains, formed pictures 
which can only be properly appreciated by those who have 
been fortunate enough to behold them. The bounding 
kangaroo, the mobs of brumbies or cattle disappearing across 
the plains or into some valley, all lent enchantment to the 
scene. It is no wonder that men become attached to such a 
country. A free and independent life once experienced can 
never be forgotten." 



South Australia's rule over this vast extent of country 
has now ceased. Within the past year the Northern Terri- 
tory has been transferred to the Government of the Common- 
wealth, and in future it will be under a separate administra- 
tion. What place it will take in the federation of States 
it is not hard to predict. Its natural resources are only half 
understood. It is rich in pastoral land ; it offers induce- 
ments to the planter of tobacco, tea, india-rubber, cotton and 
other products ; and its mineral wealth of gold, silver, tin 
and copper is undoubted. The intelligent observer of 
Australian affairs, therefore, will watch the development of 
the new province with the keenest interest. 




Origin Physical characteristics Mental qualities Spears Sword v. 
shield Native huts Art Corrobborees Superstitions " You bin 
settled this time " Singing a man dead A misunderstanding In- 
stances of fidelity A dark page of history Eloquent figures " All 
gone ! dead ! " A point of view Tasmanian aborigines " The 
Black Line " Myall Creek massacre A salutary lesson Queens- 
land barbarities The aboriginal to-day Increase of half-castes 
State problems. 

IN the preceding chapters much reference has been made 
to the natives of Australia. It is essential that some- 
thing further should be said with regard to their history and 
customs, in order that the reader may properly understand 
the nature of the people with whom the mounted police 
come so much in contact. We write and speak easily of 
them as " the blackfellows," but there are many points of 
difference between the tribes of one State and another, in 
physique, in mental qualities and in various other respects. 
The origin of the native races of the continent is too pro- 
found a subject for discussion here. It is in itself the text 
of a whole volume. Most probably the bulk of the abori- 
gines are of Melanesian stock, with infusions of blood from 
India and parts of Asia. To speak of them as blacks is 
not precisely correct. The majority of the tribes are of a 
dark brown chocolate colour ; only a few here and there 
approach the sable hue of the negro. As a rule the hair is 
straight, differing from that of the now extinct Tasmanian 



natives, who were frizzly-haired. Whether these Tasmanians 
represented the original inhabitants of Australia is a moot 
point in ethnology. It is not unlikely that they did, as they 
were inferior racially to the blacks of the mainland. 

Regarded from a physical standpoint the blackfellows 
do not compare unfavourably with European peoples. 
The Aruntas, an important tribe found in the central part 
of the interior, average about five and a half feet in height. 
Against these, however, are many tribes among whom the 
standard of height is much nearer six feet. In the northern 
districts, where the aboriginal is in his more primitive state, 
one meets with numerous fine specimens of manhood. The 
upper portions of the body are usually very well developed, 
being indicative of great strength, but the legs are generally 
slender. Several writers on the Australian natives mention 
cases of actual giants, one blackfellow having been close 
on seven feet in height. The evidence of the explorers, 
Eyre, Mitchell and Leichhardt, among others, is instructive 
in this respect. 

Describing some of the tribes he encountered Eyre wrote : 
" They were well-built, muscular men, average height five to 
six feet, men with fine, round deep chests, indicating great 
bodily strength, remarkably erect and upright in their 
carriage, with much natural grace and dignity of demeanour. 
The eye is generally large, black, and expressive, with the 
eyelashes long. When met for the first time in his native 
wilds there is frequently a fearless intrepidity of manner, an 
ingenuous openness of look, and a propriety of behaviour, 
about the aboriginal inhabitant of Australia which makes his 
appearance peculiarly prepossessing." According to Leich- 
hardt, the Moreton Bay blacks were a fine race of men, tall 
and well made, and their bodies individually, as well as the 



groups which they formed, would have delighted the eye 
of an artist. 

In facial appearance the blacks vary considerably. 
If we are to believe some observers, the general type is brutal 
and repulsive ; others declare that good looks are not rare, 
and that the features are usually well formed. This con- 
flict of opinion is quite explicable. The aboriginal is a 
human puzzle. In some parts he is negroid in type, with 
thick lips, large mouth, and broad flattened nose. A des- 
cription of a Victorian native runs thus : " The brow was 
comparatively low and retreating, the eyebrows prominent 
and shaggy, eyes fairly large, and the white of a smoky 
yellowish tinge ; the nose large and broad, the nostrils wide ; 
the mouth large ; the lips thick ; the cheekbones high ; 
small and receding jaw, somewhat projecting ; the teeth 
large. The trunk in front was completely covered with 
dense hair, which spread over the shoulders and down the 
outside of the upper arm. The beard was thick, long and 
curly, with a tendency to fall in ringlets." Elsewhere one 
meets with more pleasing characteristics. A high rounded 
forehead, with straight well-shaped nose, and full, but not 
thick, lips, combine to stamp the face as belonging to a 
totally different race. 

To generalise, therefore, on this point is impossible. 
One must regard the natives as a heterogeneous people, and 
judge their physical standard accordingly. A distinguished 
ethnologist has remarked that a circle of five hundred miles 
round Port Essington, on the northern coast near Melville 
Island, would enclose an equal number of tribes, varying in 
colour from deep black to the reddish yellow of the Poly- 
nesians, and presenting very many diversified racial types. 

Although in the north the blacks show a marked in- 


fusion of Malay and Papuan blood, they cannot be identified 
with either of these peoples. Nor are they, generally speak- 
ing, Negroes or Mongolians. It is highly probable, as Pro- 
fessor Keane avers, that they are Caucasian in origin and 
more particularly allied to the Dravidians of India. At 
various periods in their history there have been intermixtures 
with other races, and thus have arisen the numerous wide 
points of difference. We may not unreasonably assume, 
taking Australia as a whole, that the aboriginal population 
has sprung from at least two human stocks, one Melanesian, 
and the other Caucasian of later date. 

It is when we come to consider the mental qualities of the 
Australian blackfellow that we find ourselves justified in 
ranking him low in the social scale. He lives in a tribe, 
or family, in which the leadership is not hereditary but is 
assumed by the ablest man. He has no art of writing and a 
pictorial art of very crude form. He possesses little sense 
of number, seldom being able to count beyond five or ten. 
Anything above this simple computation is expressed by 
" many." An amusing illustration of this weakness is 
often quoted. A blackfellow, who had accompanied his 
master on a trip to Sydney, was, on his return, questioned 
by the boundary-rider, " Well, Jacky, did you see many 
people in Sydney ? " Jacky gasped. " My word ! Tousands ! 
Millions ! very nearly fifty ! " Furthermore, the native 
leads a nomadic [existence, living principally on the game of 
the land kangaroo, wombats, opossums, birds, lizards, and 
the like and knows nothing of agriculture. It is a wretched 
existence on the whole, for the country is not one that yields 
an abundance of food. The blackfellow, in short, is more 
primitive and animal than perhaps any other savage race 
on the globe. 



*r i W 



As becomes a people living so purely in the wild state 
the aborigines have developed certain arts and crafts to a 
degree which bespeaks a very high intelligence. One need 
only refer to their marvellous powers of tracking human 
beings and animals, for example. This is a subject which 
demands fuller treatment in its own place. Hardly less 
wonderful is it that so debased beings as the blacks should 
have discovered the principle of the boomerang. In the 
construction of their other weapons, spears, clubs and 
throwing sticks of various kinds, they have advanced little 
beyond neolithic man. Before the coming of the white men 
to their country they made their spear-heads, knives and 
axes entirely of stone, bone or wood. They had no knowledge 
of metals. Their domestic utensils, too, are primitive and 
crude, being mostly made from skins and reeds. 

The war-spear of the native is longer than that used in 
hunting game. It is often eight or nine feet long. For 
these weapons the thin stem of the eucalyptus is selected, 
the wood being straightened and hardened by intense heat. 
The heads will be of quartz or flint, shaped by means of chip- 
ping stones, or of glass or metal which its owner has learnt 
to use. In the throwing of his spears the blackfellow displays 
remarkable dexterity. He has evolved a throwing-stick, 
called a woomera, by means of which he can hurl a spear 
from sixty to a hundred yards with great precision. In 
battle the warriors protect their bodies with small wooden 
shields, but they are quite equal to catching a spear in full 
flight and throwing it back at the enemy. 

As an instance of aboriginal skill in combat the following 
story may be told. It is vouched for by the mounted police 
officer who enjoyed the experience. He says : "I was out 
with a party of troopers in search of some blacks who had 

289 V 


been committing depredations in the flocks of the settlers 
near Port Fairy. While crossing a valley in front of my men 
I came face to face with the chief of those of whom I was in 
search. He, too, was alone, and made an immediate attack 
by throwing his spears, which all missed me. The rain had 
wetted the priming in my pistols, and as they were useless I 
rode up to cut him down with my sword ; but such was his 
astonishing dexterity in defending himself with his shield 
(only a narrow piece of wood), that beyond a few nicks 
of the fingers I was unable to touch him. Several times I 
tried to ride him down, but he doubled himself under his 
shield like a ball and the horse jumped over him. After 
being apparently ridden down several times he drove his 
* liangle ' so firmly into the front of the horse's nose that 
he was unable to pull it out again. The horse bled so freely 
that I was compelled to abandon the contest, and the native 
escaped. He was not only a brave man, but a savage of 
splendid physique, with a chest like a bullock's. I heard 
afterwards that he was very proud of the sword cuts on his 
shield." ; 

In detail of construction and ornamentation native 
weapons vary a great deal. Some tribes fashion their 
shields and waddies (wooden clubs thrown by the hand) very 
roughly ; others expend no little time and care in carving 
patterns upon the handles. Similarly the so-called wooden 
swords may be plain or elaborate in design. Spear-heads 
take several forms, being barbed, half-barbed and double- 
barbed as desired. Without going into particulars, it may 
be said that the weapons of the Queensland blacks are 
superior to those of Victoria and the more western States. 
Their spears, which are sometimes nine and a half feet long, 
are more or less coloured near the ends with red and white 



clay. For the purpose of binding on the barbs the sinew of 
a wallaby's tail or cord made from the bark of a tree is used. 
The binding will then be covered with bees-wax or a pre- 
paration of the gum of the grass tree. 

A feature of more civilised tribes is the erection of 
suitable dwelling-places. The low state of the Australian 
aboriginal in the bush is marked by the simple form of hut 
which he builds for shelter. A mia mia, or wurley, is hastily 
constructed with twigs and bushes and covered with bark or 
turf. It is only intended to be a " break- wind," a tempor- 
ary residence, for the occupants may be expected to move to 
another spot in the course of a few weeks or even days. 
Only a few tribes have acquired the art of erecting more 
substantial and permanent huts. The native of the far 
north has profited by the example set him by more advanced 
people, as the Papuans, and has learnt how to build himself 
a roomy, comfortable house of wood and clay. At the 
other extreme we have the cave-dwellers of certain districts, 
leading a life that is almost devoid of creature comforts. 

The blackfellow, we have noted, has no high sense of art. 
This is true, but, as is the case with many savage tribes, he 
delights in ornamenting his own body with pigments. Red 
and white are the principal colours used. In war time the 
native smeared with stripes of red ochre and white clay on 
chest, arms and legs, and with his hair similarly coloured, is 
a hideous object. When in mourning or prepared for a 
corrobboree he is decorated with white only. The early 
explorers were frequently confronted with parties of blacks 
in all the glory of their war-paint. On his first journey along 
the Murray, Sturt once came upon a large number of natives 
thus attired. They presented a dreadful spectacle, he says. 
Some, who had marked their ribs, thighs 2 and faces with a 

- 291 


white pigment, looked like skeletons ; whilst others were 
daubed over with red and yellow ochre, and their bodies 
shone with the grease that had been rubbed over them. In 
the background were many who had the appearance of 
having had buckets of whitewash emptied over their heads. 
A favourite pattern among the men is that of a snake 
twined round the leg or extending along the arm. The 
custom of painting the body with circles and squares of 
more or less regular design is not now so common. 

In this crude, barbaric form of self-adornment one 
object in view probably is to strike terror into the heart of an 
enemy. Hideously painted masks are worn by some tribes 
for this purpose. It is actuated also by a natural personal 
vanity, while its insistence in religious and other tribal 
ceremonies gives it another distinct significance. In the 
few cave paintings executed by the aborigines or their more 
primitive predecessors we find the same bold colouring. 
Note the striking figures observed by Grey in Western 
Australia. At the entrance to a cave he was startled to 
see what he took to be a gigantic head bending down from 
a rock and staring at him. 

" It would be impossible," he writes, " to convey in words 
an adequate idea of this uncouth and savage figure. The 
dimensions were length of head and face, 2 ft. ; width 
of face, 17 in. ; length from bottom of face to navel, 2 ft. 6 in. 
Its head was encircled by bright red rays, something like 
the rays which one sees proceeding from the sun when de- 
picted on the signboard of a public-house ; inside this came 
a broad strip of very brilliant red, which was coped by lines 
of white, but both inside and outside of this red space were 
narrow stripes of a still deeper red, intended probably to 
mark its boundaries ; the face was painted vividly white, 



and the eyes black, being, however, surrounded by red and 
yellow lines ; the body, hands, and arms were outlined in 
red, the body being curiously painted with red stripes and 

" Upon the rock which formed the left-hand wall of this 
cave, and which partly faced you on entering, was a very 
singular painting, vividly coloured, representing four 
heads joined together. From the mild expression of the 
countenances I imagined them to be females, and they ap- 
peared to be drawn in such a manner and in such a position 
as to look up at the principal figure which I have described ; 
each had a very remarkable head-dress, coloured with a 
deep bright blue, and one had a necklace on. Both of the 
lower figures had a sort of dress painted with red in the same 
manner as that of the principal figure, and one of them had 
a band round her waist. Each of the four faces was marked 
by a totally distinct expression of countenance ; and although 
none of them had mouths, two, I thought, were otherwise 
rather good looking. The whole painting was executed on 
a white ground, and its dimensions were total length of 
painting, 3 ft. 6| in. ; breadth across the two upper heads, 
2 ft. 6 in. ; breadth across the two lower ones, 3 ft. i^ in." 

Among the numerous other drawings which the cave 
contained were figures of men and kangaroos, some with an 
obvious attempt at humour ; but the majority were rough 
and badly executed and not always recognisable. As 
examples of aboriginal art, however, they are worthy of our 
attention, the more so as only two other instances of cave 
painting in Australia are on record. 

The effect produced by a corrobboree with its painted 
attendants is striking in the extreme. This spectacular 
dance is not always of a religious character, but is simply the 



expression of the savage's delight in play. It is dramatic 
and often variable at the will of the performers, fresh move- 
ments being constantly introduced. The ' ' figures ' ' executed 
may represent scenes of the chase, when some of the men 
will act the part of kangaroos or emus. If it is a " war " 
dance, then a mimic battle will take place with wonderful 
realism. In one instance it was a representation of a 
cattle raid that was staged. First were seen the cattle 
(personated by natives) lying down among the trees. Then 
came the raiders, stealing noiselessly through the bush 
with their spears and leaping suddenly upon their prey. 
After the performance of killing and cutting up some car- 
cases had been gone through, the sound of horsemen was 
heard. The spectators then witnessed a thrilling conflict 
between the cattle-raiders and another party of blacks, 
who were intended to represent white stockmen, the drama 
concluding with the rout of the latter, to everyone's huge 
delight. As a rule males are the chief performers, the women 
keeping on the outskirts and assisting to supply the vocal 

A corrobboree is held at night, in a piece of the bush 
specially selected for the purpose, and fires are lighted to 
illumine the scene. There is no limit to the number con- 
cerned. There may be two or three hundred natives, or a 
mere handful. All, however, are fantastically painted and 
adorned with white perpendicular lines on face and chest, and 
with feathers and bunches of grass attached to the hair, 
wrists and ankles. The dancers are nude except for the 
few ornaments they wear, and carry light wooden clubs or 
spears with which they beat time on the ground. Apart from 
these performers are the singers, who keep up a monotonous 
chant. When the dance begins the leaders advance, and 



their followers form and reform in various figures, shouting, 
singing, and stamping their feet in repetition. In many 
one may say most cases these movements are concerted, 
so that a certain order is maintained. But it is not often 
that a corrobboree dance is identical with a previous one 
in every respect. It is usually in the dances having a 
religious, or rather, superstitious significance as the well- 
known " Molongo " that we meet with one common to 
several tribes. 

Savage peoples are invariably steeped in superstition. 
With the Australian aboriginal the world particularly 
the world of darkness is controlled by evil spirits. This 
phase, again, is one that might be enlarged upon inde- 
finitely. Along with this primitive belief in ghosts and 
sorceries one finds a curious fatalism among the black- 
fellows. It is common knowledge, for instance, that a 
native who takes it into his head for some reason that he is 
going to die, will almost certainly verify the prediction. 
A mounted police officer told the writer of a case in point. 
Charlie, a tracker who had not been long in the police 
service, one day got injured by falling on a sharp-pointed 
stake. The wound was a nasty one, but not at all dangerous. 
While the bleeding was being stopped a trooper foolishly 
remarked, " My word, Charlie, you bin settled this time ! " 
Charlie took this jest in all seriousness, and regarded him- 
self as doomed. Next morning he was found dead in the 

In certain parts of the country the blacks carry " sug- 
gestion " so far as to actually " sing a man dead." An 
individual who has trespassed against tribal law in some 
unpardonable way is singled out for punishment. Headed 
by the old women and the witch-doctors, a large portion 



of the tribe set out to find the offender and commence to 
sing his death dirge. The luckless victim accepts the situ- 
ation and goes away into the bush to die. 

That the black is not without a sense of humour is 
evident to any one who has intimate knowledge of him. 
He has the simple enjoyment of a child in the games 
peculiar to his race. But it is not always safe to joke with 
him. The savage mind is quick to take offence, even 
where none is intended, and passion is easily aroused. An 
old settler tells an amusing story of how unwittingly he 
insulted a native servant of his. Wananna had been away 
from the station for some weeks ; when he returned he was 
accompanied by a young gin, his newly-married wife. As 
the two approached the master hailed the black with, 
" Well, old man, and how have you been getting on ? " In 
a moment Wananna's grinning face changed expression, and, 
springing forward, he seized the other by the throat. The 
black was in a terrible rage. " You no call me old man," 
he said again and again. To have such an epithet applied 
to him in the presence of his young wife was an intolerable 
insult. And it was some time before the station owner could 
make him understand the meaning of the familiar term. 

Such, then, is the Australian blackfellow as we know him 
to-day. To what has been said above it must be added that 
he is notoriously treacherous and untrustworthy. The 
mounted police themselves are always wary with their 
black trackers, for years of service with the force will not 
eradicate the instinct to turn on the white man and kill if 
opportunity presents itself and there is anything to be 
gained thereby. Over confidence in the natives, coupled 
with carelessness, has brought about many a tragedy in ihe 



At the same time there are not a few outstanding in- 
stances of fidelity on the part of the blacks which would 
appear to give the lie to the general acceptance of their 
character. One recalls the faithful Wylie, the companion 
of Eyre during the latter 's journey along the shores of the 
Great Australian Bight ; Jackey-Jackey, who tended poor 
Kennedy to the last and buried the dead explorer in the 
scrub ; and Warburton's boy, Charlie, who did so much to 
save his party from a terrible fate in the desert. Of equal 
interest is Sir John Forrest's tribute to his faithful com- 
panion, "Billy Noongale," a Beverley native who accom- 
panied the explorer from Perth to Adelaide in 1870. These 
examples of loyalty, however, are rare. They only go 
to show that in certain conditions the black is capable of 
displaying the finest qualities. As a rule his attachment is 
personal. The police know this. A native tracker con- 
siders himself the servant of an individual trooper, not of 
the force as a whole. Despite Wylies and Jackey- Jackeys the 
aboriginal in the main does not belie his unsavoury reputation. 

It remains now to speak of the treatment of the blacks 
by the white men. This brings us to a dark page in Aus- 
tralian history, a page one would willingly blot out if it 
were possible. But no account of the aborigines would be 
complete without this long tale of cruelty and oppression. 
The process of elimination was rapid in the early years of 
the colony. Let the official figures speak for themselves. 
In 1800 the native population was estimated at 150,000 ; 
it was probably more, for the first settlers could make but 
a rough computation. Half a century later the number 
was about 55,000. Since then they have been steadily 
diminishing year by year, and their ultimate extinction as a 
race is inevitable. 



In his volume, The Living Races of Mankind, the 
Rev. H. N. Hutchinson gives a striking illustration of the 
changes wrought by a few years. He says : " When Mr. 
Lloyd first landed in Geelong, in 1837, the Barrabool tribe 
numbered nearly three hundred, and fine-looking fellows 
they were. When he went away in 1853, there were not 
many left. Seeing so few natives about, he began to make 
inquiries about some of his dark friends of early days. 
The reply he received is so pathetic that it may be given as 
far as possible in the very words : * Aha, Mitter Looyed ! 
Ballyyang dead, Jaga-jaga dead, Panigerong dead (and 
many others they named). The stranger white man came 
in his great swimming vessel, and landed with his large 
animals and his little animals. He came with his " boom- 
booms " (double-barrelled guns) and his tents, and the great 
white stranger took away the long-inherited hunting- 
grounds of the poor Barrabool coolies and their children.' 
Then, weeping, shaking their heads, and holding up their 
hands in the bitterness of their sorrow, they exclaimed : 
* Coolie, coolie, coolie ! Where are our coolies now ? 
Where are our fathers, mothers, brothers, sisters ? Dead ! 
all gone ! dead ! ' " 

It has been the case with the Australian aboriginal as 
with his red brother of North America. The usurpation of 
his hunting-grounds and the killing of the game on which he 
largely subsisted have pushed him to the wall. The Indian's 
plaint was, " White man come, buffalo all gone ! " The 
blackfellow has said exactly the same thing, " White man 
come, kangaroo all gone ! " For a long time, too, the old 
dictum held good, that " The only good nigger is a dead 
nigger." How many black camps, it may be wondered, 
have been " wiped out," literally, without the knowledge 



of the mounted police or any other authority ? Mr. Searcey 
relates that he once received a letter from a man who was 
attacked by blacks in the Gulf country and was very badly 
speared. He recovered in due course. In his letter he 
said, " I now shoot at sight ; killed to date thirty-seven." 
It is typical of the point of view that is acquired in a country 
where nearly every native is hostile. That the black, how- 
ever, is not without grounds for adopting this attitude must 
be admitted. While the stockman declares that he must 
kill to protect his own life, he is well aware of the fact that 
he and his kind have committed nameless crimes innumerable 
and to a great degree are responsible for the ceaseless war. 

The fate of the Tasmanian aborigines serves to show how 
quickly a people may be exterminated. In the first years 
of the settlement of the island the behaviour of the convict 
population towards the natives was such as to call forth the 
bloodiest reprisals. When a Commissioner appointed by 
Governor Arthur inquired into the state of affairs it elicited 
some startling facts. A stock-keeper had been punished 
for cutting off a black's finger, which he wanted to use as a 
tobacco stopper. Another had murdered the husband of a 
black woman he coveted, and had compelled the latter to 
follow him with the bleeding trophy of the man's head 
dangling from her neck. A later governor averred that he 
could not have believed it possible that British subjects 
would have so ignominiously stained the honour of their 
country and themselves as to have acted in the manner they 
did towards the aborigines. The evidence is overwhelming, 
conclusive. What followed can be understood. The blacks 
returned war with war, until the whole island was aflame. 
Martial law was now proclaimed against the natives, and 
they were shot down in large numbers. 



One humane man, Mr. George Augustus Robinson, made 
a noble effort to stem this wholesale carnage. He went 
among the blacks single-handed, with a view to establishing 
them on a reservation under Government protection. His 
overtures had little effect at first, owing to the suspicion 
of the natives and the continuous atrocities perpetrated by 
the capture parties, but after a time he was more success- 
ful. Governor Arthur had ordered a great " drive." By 
means of what was known as the " Black Line," the blacks 
were to be swept across the island into Tasman's Peninsula, 
there to be kept under a strong guard. The " drive " 
was a fiasco, the 30,000 that had been expended thereon 
resulting in the capture of one adult native and a boy ! 
Mr. Robinson now renewed his missionary work with such 
good result that in 1835 the remnant of the race less than 
three hundred in all were gathered together in Flinders 
Island. In this refuge they were tended by their benefactor 
and the Government, but any hope of preserving them that 
might have been entertained was doomed to disappoint- 
ment. By 1847 they had dwindled to forty-four. In 1869 
the " last man," William Lanney, died, and seven years 
later his wife Truganina, the sole survivor of the race, fol- 
lowed him. 

There has been no such organised attempt to sweep out 
the blacks of the mainland. At various times, however, the 
country has been the scene of some massacres on a large 
scale. Of these the most notorious were Major Nunn's 
" campaign " and the Myall Creek affair, both of which 
occurred in 1838. One of them was the first event of this 
description to be dealt with in a court of justice. The recog- 
nition of a blackfellow's right to live, and of his claim upon 
the law of the land, was a point insisted upon by Sir George 



Gipps, the Governor of New South Wales. It was a new 
point to the settlers, and one that by no means commended 
itself to them. The " Border Police Act," which was 
devised to afford protection to the aborigines and put an 
end to their barbarous treatment, was therefore a bone of 
contention between the settler population and the Govern- 

Major Nunn, who figures unpleasantly in this war 
against the natives, was the commandant of the Mounted 
Police of the colony. When the squatters of the Liverpool 
Plains asked for protection from the blacks whom they 
had provoked into hostility, Nunn was ordered to see to 
the matter. He proceeded to the Plains with twenty-three 
troopers, and augmented his force there with a number of 
stockmen from local stations. Then a merciless campaign 
began. The reputed murderers of a farm servant were 
given up by the tribe attacked, but this did not satisfy the 
stockmen. They seized the opportunity to make an end of 
their enemies if possible, and to their lasting discredit the 
police joined in the shooting down of the fugitives. It was a 
most inglorious victory. Governor Gipps ordered an 
inquiry into the affair, but delay after delay occurred and 
nothing was done. A few months later New South Wales had 
another sensation to talk about. 

The actual scene of the second massacre referred to was 
the station of a Mr. Dangar, at Myall Creek, about three 
hundred and fifty miles north of Sydney. On the run was 
encamped a tribe of natives, some fifty strong, who were on 
friendly terms with the station hands. There is no reason 
to believe that they were otherwise than inoffensive. How- 
ever, during the absence of the manager, Mr. Hobbs, a stock- 
keeper named Kilmeister and seven others made a descent 



upon the blacks for the purpose of " clearing them out." 
It was an unprovoked attack, actuated simply by motives 
of brutality, although an attempt was afterwards made to 
excuse it on the score that the tribe had been spearing cattle. 
The unfortunate natives men, women and children were 
roped together, and some of them further secured by hand- 
cuffs. Then they were driven out some distance, to be 
slaughtered in cold blood like sheep. 

But for Mr. Hobbs' courage in taking action in the 
matter the raid might never have been made public. The 
manager returned to the station a few days later and noticed 
the absence of the blacks. He obtained an inkling of what 
had transpired, paid a visit to a distant part of the run, and 
saw a horrifying spectacle. On the ground were the remains 
of at least thirty natives, the bodies mangled and half -burnt. 
Some were those of children. He discovered in the course 
of his investigation that swords had been used by the 
butchers as well as pistols, and he discovered that the blacks 
had had no chance of fighting for their lives. Mr. Hobbs 
reported the matter to the authorities. Without any delay 
an inquiry was instituted, and eleven arrests were made. 
A twelfth man implicated would have been similarly brought 
to justice, but he rode for his life to the coast and escaped 
in a vessel to Tasmania, where he lay hid until he deemed it 
safe to show himself once more in New South Wales. 

The trial of the eleven murderers excited widespread 
interest. It was a daring thing in the face of public opinion 
to arraign white men on a charge of murdering blacks. The 
Government, however, was determined to strike a blow at 
the barbarism of the day. It sat tight and sifted the evi- 
dence to the bottom. And the evidence was damning. A 
station hand told a straightforward tale of how the party 

302 , 


of stockmen had carried away the blacks, of how he had 
heard the reports of firearms, and of how the men had 
returned with blood-stained swords. The attempt to 
destroy all signs of the deed by fire was then described. 
" Kilmeister said in the morning (of the next day) that he 
was going after his horse which he had left down the creek. 
The smoke was from the creek. I never went to the place ; 
I did not like to go. Davey went as he came back. Kil- 
meister was away in the middle of the day ; he said the horse 
was knocked up and not able to walk. I saw him ; he could 
have caught him anywhere. I saw the smoke pretty well 
all day ; at the first beginning there was a great smoke ; 
in the after part of the day there was not much." What 
the fire was unable to consume was left to other destroyers. 
There were eagles, hawks, birds of prey of all kinds, hovering 
over the place. Mr. Hobbs saw them when he went out. 

In Sydney at the time of the trial there was much loud 
talk. The prisoners had many sympathisers, and no doubt 
thought that their acquittal was certain. " We were not 
aware," they urged, " that in killing blacks we were violat- 
ing the law, as it had been so frequently done in the colony 
before." This plea availed them not. Four of them, indeed, 
were discharged for want of evidence that they had 
actually taken part in the massacre, but the others were 
found guilty. They were sentenced to death and were 
hanged, the whole seven of them ; and squatterdom took the 
lesson to heart. 

In Queensland, in the fifties and sixties, there was similar 
wanton killing of the blacks. It is an unpleasant chapter 
of pioneering history. To ride down and shoot a mob of 
natives was sport for those who supported the policy of 
extermination. And it was considered a legitimate method 



to free a run of blacks, as one would free a fowl run of rats, by 
poison. There are cases on record in which a barrel of flour 
containing arsenic was presented to the unsuspecting victims, 
who died in scores and in no little agony. Nor were the 
police the native mounted police of the day above re- 
proach. In the capture and treatment of prisoners they 
were guilty of much brutality. It was, perhaps, too much 
to expect that a native would refrain from the opportunity 
of hunting and killing members of another tribe, his natural 
enemies. The black troopers found the work to their 

At the present time the few thousands of natives left in 
Australia are being taken care of by the Government so far 
as is possible. Each State has its Aborigines Protection 
Board. At various points in the country mission stations 
have been established, at which the blacks are housed and fed, 
and are induced to employ themselves in profitable labour, 
while their children are taught in native schools. It is an 
uphill task, for the black does not take kindly to regular 
work. The Government agents are nevertheless instru- 
mental in providing a great deal of relief, and by their vigi- 
lance assisted as they are by the mounted police they 
succeed in checking many of the prevalent abuses. 

In New South Wales the latest census returns give the 
number of aboriginals as 2,123 full-bloods and 5,247 half- 
castes, making a total of 7,370. Among the former there 
has been a marked decrease, but the latter show an increase 
on previous years. Under the new Aborigines Bill that has 
passed through the Legislature the Government are hopeful 
of bettering the condition of the natives. The State Pro- 
tector of Aborigines reports as follows : 

" Though much has been done in the interests of the 


aborigines since the constitution of the Board, by erecting 
huts and providing rations and other assistance, it has for 
some time been felt that the Board's efforts were to a certain 
extent unsatisfactory, inasmuch as, in the absence of legis- 
lative sanction, they were powerless to adopt a settled policy 
for want of the necessary powers to carry it to a successful 
issue. For instance, they had really no control over the 
reserves, and the residents could set authority at defiance, 
the only available punishment being the stoppage of rations 
and other assistance. Now that they have been clothed 
with ample powers, the Board propose making radical 
changes in the methods of dealing with the aboriginal popu- 
lation, more especially in the direction of compelling all 
the able-bodied to shift for themselves, and of training the 
young so that they may become useful members of the State. 
" The Act, which will come into operation on a date to be 
fixed by proclamation, provides for the constitution of the 
Board, the appointment of local committees, guardians, and 
other officers, and their respective duties. The control of all 
reserves, with buildings and other property thereon, is 
vested in the Board, who are given power to remove any 
aboriginal guilty of any misconduct, or who, in their opinion, 
should be earning a living away from such reserve. The 
law in regard to the supply of liquor to aborigines is amended, 
and the provisions of Section 4 (76) of the ' Vagrancy Act, 
1902,' relating to the offence of ' wandering with aborigines ' 
re-enacted. Machinery is provided for the apprenticeship 
of aboriginal children, and the parents of aboriginal 
children made responsible for their maintenance. Power is 
given to remove any aboriginal from the vicinity of any 
reserve, town, or township to such distance therefrom as 
the Board may direct. It is made an offence for any 

~ 305 x 


unauthorised person to have possession of any article issued 
by the Government or the Board for the use of the aborigines. 
Provision is also made for the inspection of aboriginal stations 
and reserves." 

Victoria includes 173 full-blood natives and 80 half-castes, 
so that the work is lighter than that of her neighbours. Six 
reserves making a total area of 9,039 acres have been set 
apart for the blacks, who possess cattle and sheep and who, 
generally speaking, work their land in a satisfactory manner. 

It is when we come to South Australia and Western 
Australia that we find the native question pressing more 
heavily. In the former province, according to the last 
census, the aboriginal population (exclusive of the Northern 
Territory) was 

Blacks 2,810 

Half-castes 800 


The same tale of increase and decrease is told here. The 
full-bloods are slowly but surely falling away in numbers. 
Five mission stations are under the control of the Board, 
and here every endeavour is made to keep the natives in 
settled conditions. That there is much yet to be done is 
evident from the official report. The need of an Act for 
the protection and control of the aborigines and half-castes 
has been greatly felt, but it is hoped this will be met by the 
passing of the Bill now before Parliament. 

The increasing proportion of half-castes leads the State 
" Protector " to urge the necessity of steps being taken to 
convert these people into useful members of the community, 
instead of allowing them to grow up in the black camps, 
where they acquire the lazy habits of the aborigines, which 

- 306 


unfits them for any regular occupation. " I am still firmly 
of opinion," he says, " that the very best way is to treat them 
as neglected children, and have them placed under the care 
and control of the State Children's Department until they 
reach the age of eighteen years, by which time they should 
be able to earn their own living and should no longer be 
considered or treated as aborigines. The boys should be 
taught trades, and the girls trades or domestic duties. On 
the other hand, if left to wander and grow up with the 
aborigines they and their offspring will become an ever- 
increasing burden. At present, in many parts of the State, 
may be seen practically white males and females squatting 
in blacks' camps. On the mission stations the same sort of 
thing exists after the children have passed the school-going 
age, the very time when they should be taught to become 

South Australia's most unmanageable black dependants 
have been, of course, the natives of the far north. Of this 
burden the State will now be relieved by the new constitu- 
tion of the Northern Territory. In that wild and sparsely- 
settled portion of the continent the pacification of the native 
tribes must necessarily progress slowly. 

In Western Australia, where the aborigines reach their 
highest number (over 20,000), the chief difficulties present 
themselves in the north-western districts. The black of the 
Kimberleys is a constant source of trouble through his 
predilection for cattle-killing. To combat this evil, native 
settlements are being established whereon the blacks may 
accumulate their own herds, and thus provide themselves 
with meat instead of at the expense of their white neigh- 
bours. Of the regularly established mission stations there 
are eight, but the number of natives in residence there is not 



large. The majority lead a wandering existence, which 
renders the task of their supervision a very difficult matter. * 
As in the Northern Territory, the mounted police do a 
very big share of the work. The detailed reports sent in 
from all quarters testify to the vigilance exercised with re- 
gard to natives employed on stations, and to the care that 
is taken to relieve necessitous cases. The troopers patrol 
the country as thoroughly as their numbers permit. Very 
few cases of crime and ill-treatment escape their notice, 
and when one takes into consideration the immense area to 
be covered, together with the natural difficulties of the 
country traversed, their record in all respects is one to be 
proud of. How the West Australian police trooper per- 
forms these and other arduous duties is the subject of our 
next chapter. 

1 Under the provisions of " The Aborigines Act, 1905," the sum of 
10,000 out of the Consolidated Revenue Fund is annually placed at 
the disposal of the Aborigines Department, in addition to any other 
moneys that may be provided by Parliament. The total expenditure by 
the Department during the year 1908-9 was 22,559 (being 4,609 more 
than for the previous year), whilst the total expenditure on behalf of the 
natives during the past ten years has reached the large sum of 139,247. 

The total subsidy paid to missions of different denominations through- 
out the State last year amounted to over 2,000, being divided amongst 
the following : Beagle Bay, New Norcia, Salvation Army Home, Swan 
Native and Half-castes, Ellensbrook, and the Australian Aborigines' 
Mission. All these missions are doing good work among the rising genera- 
tion of the full-blooded and half-caste natives. The Drysdale Mission, 
which is a branch of the New Norcia, started operations in the far 
North in 1908, the country being practically uninhabited except by 
aborigines. The Government have given them a grant of 20,000 acres, 
which can be held for all time, provided it is used for the purpose of 
a mission station. A similar grant has also been given to the Beagle 
Bay Mission, under like conditions. These grants will allow of the mission 
work being extended in the direction of tropical cultivation, and of the 
formation of native settlements on the same lines as those adopted by some 
of the missions in the other States. (Report of Western Australian 
Aborigines Protection Board,) 




Days of settlement Convicts introduced A military guard Police con- 
stables appointed Superintendent Conroy The " Enrolled Force " 
The Police Act of 1861 Superintendent Hogan Captain Smith,Com- 
missioner Lieut. -Colonel Phillips Captain Fred A. Hare Distribu- 
tion of the force The north-west Native troubles "Soaks " and 
" Gnamma holes" A tragedy of thirst Trooper Richardson's 
murder " Pigeon " at large In the Barrier Range Superintendent 
Lawrence The Jasper murder " Major " Police rewards Arms 
and uniform Conditions of appointment Pay The trooper to-day. 

WE have already seen how Western Australia was first 
settled in 1829, when Captain Fremantle hoisted 
the British flag on its shores. x Thereafter for many years the 
story of the colony's progress is one of continuous struggle 
against adversity, the emigrants clustering in and around 
Perth and rarely venturing forth into the unknown country 
beyond without incurring disaster. The scheme under which 
the new colony was launched provided for grants of land to 
intending settlers ; every one was to be a landed proprietor, 
in fact ; and too many began with estates that were un- 
manageably big. One gentleman, we read, was given 250,000 
acres, " with a possible extension to 1,000,000 acres," and 
set about farming and stock-raising on a large scale with 
three hundred servants. He lost his all. The soil of the 
locality was infertile, his stock strayed away or died in the 
scrub, the servants deserted, partly through fear of the 

1 See page 30. 


hostile blacks,and the place went to rack and ruin. It was 
a case typical of many others. 

Of the first twenty years of the colony's history there is 
little of event to record. No marked change in development 
occurred until 1850, when the settlers abandoned their 
former views on the subject and frankly asked the home 
authorities for convict labour. Previously the experiment 
had been made of taking boys sent out from the Parkhurst 
reformatory. There were to be no actual convicts, it was 
said, no repetition of the troubles of New South Wales ; but 
the acceptance of these so-called " apprentices," proved to 
be the thin edge of the wedge. A few years of stagnation 
convinced the colonists that convict labour was preferable 
to none at all, and Earl Grey, the Colonial Secretary, was 
petitioned accordingly. So the convicts came, several thou- 
sands of them, between the years 1850 and 1868. 1 And 
Western Australia went ahead to expand and establish her- 
self firmly upon her feet. 

With all its apparent advantages the system of assigning 
convict-servants to the colonists brought grave evils in its 
train. Scenes took place similar to those that had been 
witnessed in the older colonies under the same conditions. 

1 The Australian Dictionary of Dates gives the total number of convicts 
sent to Australia, in the period from 1787 to 1868, as follows 



Number of Convicts landed. 




New South Wales . 
Van Diemen's Land 
Western Australia . 

Total. . . . 










Prisoners broke gaol, committed robberies and worse 
crimes, even took to the bush for what time they could 
prey on their neighbours. Outside the towns the brutality 
of the assigned men quickly caused trouble with the 
natives. Reprisals of a savage nature became more and 
more frequent. Up in the Murchison country, and farther 
north where many of the early settlers lived in carts until 
their homesteads were erected, a number of outrages were 
perpetrated. At first only the stock was speared or stolen 
by the blacks. It was a common sight to see cattle in the 
bush with broken pieces of spears sticking in their sides. 
From that stage it was but a step to attacking the settlers 

It is from this period that the history of the mounted 
police of Western Australia dates. In 1848, when Captain 
Fitzgerald, R.N., was Governor in succession to Colonel 
Irwin, 1 the Imperial Government had grudgingly sent out 
a small military guard to protect the community. The 
soldiers performed what police duty was necessary until 
the coming of the convicts, with whom, of course, were a 
number of warders. In 1850 police constables were ap- 
pointed to various districts, ranging from Albany in the 
south to Geraldton in the north. By 1852 the force had 
grown to eighty -seven all told, being distinguished under 
two heads rative and convict. The " native " police 
numbered twenty-four, of whom eleven were blacks. In 
this body were nine white troopers and the same number 
of mounted blacks. The convict police out of sixty-three 
members had twenty mounted men. In the same year 
Governor Fitzgerald obtained permission to combine these 

1 The earlier Governors were: Captain James Stirling, R.N. (1829), 
John Hutt (1839), aid Colonel Clarke (1845). 


two forces into one, with power to increase the strength. 
The first Superintendent of Police was meanwhile appointed 
in the person of Mr. J. A. Conroy, who shortly after estab- 
lished the force on a more permanent basis. The police 
at this period, it should be mentioned, were paid from the 
Convict Funds. 

Known as the " Enrolled Force," and composed largely 
of men who had served in the army or the Royal Irish Con- 
stabulary, these policemen had the convict gangs par- 
ticularly under their eyes. The prison parties were mostly 
employed in making roads, and the troopers' duty was to 
ride from one gang to another to see that all was well. Fre- 
quently they had to pass on prisoners from one patrol party 
to another in transferring the same across country, as, for 
example, from Fremantle to Perth, from Perth to Guildf ord, 
and so on. With the convicts also were the regular warders, 
who were assisted by good-conduct prisoners deputed to act 
as special constables. At times the temptation to escape 
was too strong to be resisted, and convict after convict made 
a vain attempt to gain freedom in the bush. Only one or 
two ever succeeded in getting away to Adelaide, covering 
the whole distance on foot. To the mounted police with 
their black trackers fell the task of hunting down these poor 
wretches, and others, known as absconders," vho had been 
assigned to settlers on ticket-of-leave and who similarly 
endeavoured to break from bondage. 

In these early years the police were regulated by three 
ordinances. 1 By the end of 1861 it became essential to 
reorganise the force, and a Police Act (25 Victoria, No. 15) 
was passed. This statute made provision fcr the appoint- 
ment of a Superintendent to control the foice for duty in 

1 12 Victoria, No. 20 ; 16 Victoria, No. 19 ; and 23 Victoria, No. 5. 


different parts of the State, and for the appointment of 
Inspectors, Sub-Inspectors, Sub-Officers and men. The 
Chief of Police of this time was Superintendent W. Hogan, 
who had succeeded Sir A. T. C. Campbell (the successor to 
Mr. Conroy) in January 1861. The earliest consecutive 
departmental records date from Superintendent Hogan's 
accession to office, and there is no doubt that the force as 
now constituted owed its origin to him. 

For ten months, from July 1866 to April 1867, Major 
R. H. Crampton held the position of Acting Superintendent 
of Police, pending the decision of the Government with 
regard to the next appointment. Eventually Mr. G. E. C. 
Hare was selected, this officer continuing in office until May 
1871. He was then succeeded by Captain M. S. Smith, in 
whose reign the title of the head of the police force was 
changed from Superintendent to Commissioner. 

On the death of Captain Smith in 1887 the post was 
offered to Lieut.-Colonel G. B. Phillips, who acted as Com- 
missioner until 1900. Within these few years the colony 
made great strides owing to the discovery of the rich gold- 
fields at Cue, Coolgardie and Kalgoorlie. To cope with 
these new conditions and the sudden increase in population 
the force was considerably augmented, especially in the 
mounted branch. Patrols and escorts for gold convoys 
were supplied by the police, while a strict surveillance was 
kept over the diggings. This period, however, is dealt with 
in a separate chapter, and need not detain us here. 

From 1900 down to the present time the Chief of Police 
has been Captain Fred A. Hare, who, previous to his appoint- 
ment, had been acting as Warden of the East Coolgardie 
Goldfields. Captain Hare entered the service in 1882 to 
become Inspector for the Southern Districts, but after a 



term as private secretary and A.D.C. to Governor Sir 
Frederick Napier Broome, he accepted the post of Govern- 
ment Resident at Wyndham, in the north-west. Thence 
he was transferred to Albany, in the south, in 1887, after 
which he officiated as Resident Magistrate at York until his 
appointment as Goldfields Warden. 

Under Commissioner Hare's control the police force of 
the colony has been brought to a high pitch of efficiency. 
Despite the immense area to be covered Western Australia 
embraces 975,920 square miles there are only 461 police 
officers and men to undertake the work, yet it is done, and 
done well. The trooper police, the mounted men, alone 
number about 180, exclusive of officers. For the most part 
they are distributed over the western and northern districts 
where there is need for patrols. At Geraldton there is one 
trooper ; Dongarra, Minginew and Yalgoo have one each ; in 
the Murchison country there is one stationed at Cue, while 
at Nannine there are three, at Meekatharra three, at Wiluna 
two, and so on. 1 One man must watch over a whole district 
and must play many parts in the execution of his duty. 
Western Australia is no exception to the rule in calling 
upon her police to perform a variety of roles. In addition 
to the ordinary criminal work the trooper may have to 
act as Clerk of Courts, Mining Registrar or Crown Lands 
Inspector, collect statistics relating to stock, crops, and the 
area of land under cultivation, and make inquiries in con- 
nection with immigration, taxation, labour conditions, and 

1 The distribution of the mounted police non-commissioned officers 
and men over the twelve divisions of the State is as follows : Metro- 
politan, 27; Fremantle, 10; Swan, 7; South- Western, 17; Eastern, 
12 ; Western, 15 ; Albany, 6 ; N. Coolgardie, 14 ; E. Coolgardie, 16 ; Mur- 
chison, 19 ; Roebourne, 13 ; Kimberley, 23. There are also 51 native 
trackers employed. 



in fact anything about which any Government Department 
may demand information. 

As is the case in South Australia and Queensland, the 
trooper in the western State meets with his hardest work in 
the outlands, where the aboriginal population still roams 
the country. The north-western portion of West Australia 
was explored fitfully by Surveyor-General Roe, by Grey, 
Warburton, and Giles in the early days of settlement, but 
the first expedition to really make known the value of the 
northern districts was that led by Mr. Alexander Forrest, 
a brother of the Right Hon. Sir John Forrest, P.O., G.C.M.G. 
In 1879 the party, consisting of six white men and two natives, 
explored the great Fitzroy River, discovered and named the 
King Leopold Ranges, and traversed a large portion of the 
country round the Ord River. The region was found to be 
rich in pastoral land, and it was not long before cattle and 
sheep stations were being established there. A little later, 
in 1884, it received a further impetus through the discovery 
of the Kimberley goldfield, which has been worked with great 

In the record of mounted police work in these northern 
districts of the State the natives figure prominently. With 
the advent of stockmen came many opportunities to " lift " 
cattle, and as the blacks grew more daring the raids increased 
in frequency. The Kimberley black is as good a specimen 
of his race as can be found in the whole of the continent. He 
is well-developed physically, and has been a fighting man 
" from way back." The police were soon called out to 
check the depredations of the cattle-killers, and to protect 
the scattered stations from attacks. Among the more 
serious crimes of the eighties was the murder of Mr. John 
Durack, a well-known pioneer of the Ord River district. 


Sergeant Truslove and Trooper Strickland got out after the 
blacks in this instance, and, after being nearly drowned in a 
flooded stream, had a narrow escape from dying of starvation 
and thirst in the wilds. There was, too, the murder of Dr. 
Vines at Braeside, in the Roebourne district. The station 
was attacked by natives in September of 1889, and its occu- 
pants speared. For this crime Nowarong, Dandy Jim and 
other aboriginals were executed. 

The killing of Stephen Grace, prospector, in 1907 will 
be remembered by many people. Grace was in camp with 
three other men in the Mackay Ranges, two hundred miles 
north of Wiluna, and was visited by natives, to whom food 
was given. In return for this kindness the little party was 
later surprised, the blacks leaping upon them with short 
stabbing spears. Grace and another man were both 
wounded, the former, as it proved, mortally. For the 
purpose of hunting down the murderers the Government 
requisitioned the services of Mr. Baumgarten, of the Mines 
Water Supply Department, and several of his camels. The 
country was thickly covered with spinif ex, and was unsuitable 
for horses. Thanks to these valuable aids Constable Doody 
was enabled to get upon the track of the culprits. 

The reference above to the perils experienced by mounted 
policemen in traversing difficult country reminds us of the 
provision that is made, wherever possible, for a water 
supply in an otherwise arid region. What are known as 
" soaks " are established at various points, and no traveller 
would be wise to venture any great distance without proper 
knowledge of these essentials to his existence. 

A " soak " is formed by digging away the sand from the 
base of a granite rock, in some hollow of which below the 
surface drainage water is almost sure to be found. When 



a selector looks round for water in an inland district where 
he pitches his camp, his first thought is for a rock of this 
description. In many cases the natives have made " soaks " 
for their own use, scraping out the sand with their hands, 
and they take care to keep them always open. Some such 
ready-made reservoirs are now being rendered more per- 
manent by Government engineers, who enclose the basin in 
order to prevent any unnecessary leakage of the water. 

In these same rock formations, which are met with in 
various parts of the interior desert country, there are fre- 
quently what are called " gnamma holes." These depres- 
sions in the granite naturally vary considerably in size. 
They may be one or several feet in diameter and of shallow 
or great depth. A large " gnamma hole " is capable of 
holding 20,000 gallons. The origin of the holes is somewhat 
of a puzzle to scientists. " It looks," says one writer, " as 
if their cause was the decomposing of a belt of iron-stone 
in the granite, or a dyke composed of softer material, which 
the natives may have helped to clear out. The rock in 
which they are formed is often high above the surrounding 
plains, and shows no signs of ever having been caused by 
erosion from water. They only get filled by surface drain- 
age when a heavy thunderstorm breaks over them." 

It was by a " soak " in the Murchison country some years 
ago that a grim tragedy was enacted. A party of drovers 
was making northward with three hundred head of cattle 
and a number of horses. After striking camp one day two 
brothers named Clarkson pushed ahead of the rest and rode 
in the direction of a well-known water-hole. The season, 
however, had been an exceptionally dry one, and the rock 
bottom stared them in the face without a vestige of moisturt 
on it. One of the two men dropped exhausted by the hole, 



overcome by the heat and the torments of thirst. The 
other bravely struggled on in the hope of finding another 
" soak," and of so saving both their lives. He found it, 
but he never returned. When a search party, including 
two mounted policemen, got upon the trail, they discovered 
a tree to which was fastened a piece of paper with the mes- 
sage : " It is 5 o'clock. Am pushing on for water. Will 
come back." A little farther on, near a " soak," from 
which he had filled his water-bag, was his dead body. At 
the moment of success he had been speared by a hostile 
mob of blacks. His brother, meanwhile, had died where he 
had thrown himself down. 

The searchers in time rounded up the murderers, who 
were holding a triumphant corrobboree, and were offered 
three boys as the alleged culprits. However, further 
investigation resulted in the capture of an old black who 
tremblingly confessed to the deed. He was carried off, but 
was subsequently released, as the evidence against him 
was deemed insufficient. 

In the calendar of native crime which we are passing 
under review the most sensational case, undoubtedly, is 
that in which a trooper policeman named Richardson met 
his death. This occurred in 1894. Richardson, who was 
stationed in the Robinson River district, had been out to 
arrest natives wanted for cattle-killing and for absconding 
from gaol. He had collected in all seventeen prisoners, 
among them " some of the worst characters on the River." 
All were chained together in a line. On the way back to 
Derby the constable learnt that one Eelemarra, or " Paddy," 
a notoriously bad lot, was in the neighbourhood,] and he 
determined to capture him. Accordingly, he detailed two 
native assistants, " Pigeon " and " Captain," to carry out 



the arrest. The two trackers performed their duty success- 
fully, but while bringing back their man to the chain-gang 
Pigeon concocted a treacherous plot. Richardson was alone 
and at their mercy ; he was weak, too, having barely 
recovered from an attack of fever. If the others joined him 
the trooper's death would be easily accomplished and the 
prisoners many of them his friends could be freed. 

To win over Captain and Eelemarra to this plan was an 
easy matter. Nor was it difficult to find an opportunity to 
catch Richardson napping. Soon after being rejoined by 
his assistants, the trooper ordered a mid-day halt at Lillma- 
loora, an old disused station which was often occupied by 
the police as a rest-house. The building had a long central 
passage running from front to back. In this sheltered place 
he lay down to rest, feeling every confidence in his boys, 
Pigeon and Captain, who remained outside in charge of the 
prisoners. Pigeon, it may be said, had saved his master's 
life only a few weeks previously when the two had been 
attacked by some Barker natives, and the possibility of 
treachery never entered the policeman's head. 

So Richardson stretched himself on the cool floor of the 
passage, through which a soft, pleasant breeze was blowing, 
and read a copy of the Police Gazette until he dozed. Then 
they killed him. Pigeon, it is presumed, stood right over 
the prostrate man and shot him through the forehead with 
a Winchester rifle. Captain and Eelemarra used a revolver 
not that there was any need to so far as poor Richardson 
was concerned, but in order to implicate them in the crime 
Pigeon insisted on their firing ; he had no intention of 
taking the onus of the affair on his own shoulders alone. 
After the deed was accomplished the irons were struck off 
the waiting prisoners, and all made off into the hills. 

319 ~ 


With the party, be it noted, were several gins, from whom, 
eventually, the details of the murder were obtained. 

The next event in this aboriginal drama was the tragedy 
of Burke and Gibbs. These two men and another, Fred 
Edgar by name, were travelling to the Upper Fitzroy with 
a herd of five hundred cattle and a dray. On the morning 
of November 8, only five days after the black business at 
Lillmaloora, the three drovers had a quarrel. Edgar, who 
knew of Richardson's murder, objected to his companions 
not carrying firearms. He, by the way, rode in the dray. 
Burke and Gibbs, with the help of two natives, looked after 
the cattle. But Edgar's reproof would seem to have made 
no impression on the others. When they reached Wingina 
they were still unarmed. 

At this place the cattle went into the river to drink. As 
they stirred up the water considerably and muddied it, 
Burke and Gibbs went farther up the left bank. Having 
refreshed themselves they sat on the sand and lit their pipes. 
This was the moment for which Pigeon and his comrades 
were waiting. Creeping up stealthily the leader of the blacks 
shot both the men in the back. They jumped up instantly to 
make a dash for their horses. Gibbs succeeded in mounting 
and crossing the stream, but Burke's horse became restive, 
and he could only get one foot into the stirrups. Eelemarra 
now ran out from behind some rocks and shot him again, 
using Richardson's double-barrelled breech-loading shot 
gun. At the same time another native, Mullenbudden, 
drove a spear into the poor fellow's side. 

Meanwhile, Gibbs was faring equally badly. On the 
other side of the river the Lillmaloora boundary fence 
blocked his way, and Pigeon was able to get in another shot. 
Georgie, Edgar's boy, who saw everything, could not say if 

- 320 


this second shot hit or not ; but Georgie was in the river with 
only his eyes and nose above water. He said, however, 
that Captain and Eelemarra both went after Gibbs, and it 
was concluded that the former finished off the wounded 
man by choking him. Edgar's other boy, Nugger, rode back 
to his master with the news, and the drover unyoked his 
bullocks, giving a gun to his driver, Sambo. He then 
galloped to Mr. Lukin's station, a few miles distant, to 
procure help. Sambo and Nugger waited some time to see 
if Gibbs had escaped, and on his not showing up they, too, 
proceeded to Lukin's. 

Down by the river Pigeon was preparing for the pursuit 
which he knew was sure to follow. The bodies of the two 
dead drovers were dragged into the road above the bank, 
and left there in full view of any one approaching. On the 
top of some hills of the Barrier Range some gins were posted 
to watch for the police, a signal being arranged by which 
they were to notify the other natives. When thus apprised, 
Pigeon and his followers meant to creep up under the river 
bank and shoot the police as the latter were examining the 
bodies. But before taking up their position the blacks 
visited the drovers' camp, sacking the dray and stealing 
all the guns and revolvers left there, together with a large 
quantity of ammunition. They took the boy Georgie 
with them, in the hope of persuading him to join them, 
but he refused. Pigeon let him go when they decamped, 
saying that he " did not want to kill black fellow, only 

The police officer at Derby, Sub-Inspector 0. Drewry, 
was prompt in following up the criminals. A party of 
mounted police, accompanied by Edgar, and strengthened 
by several black trackers, set out on the llth. The trackers 

321 y 


painted themselves as if on the war-path and carried native 
weapons instead of guns, so that they might come to close 
quarters with the fugitives before an alarm was raised. 
They were instructed to get friendly with Pigeon and seize 
their chance to smash the blacks' rifles on the rocks. If it 
came to a fight they were to spear the leaders rather than 
let them escape. 

Pigeon's scheme to entrap the police failed, and on their 
side the troopers met with ill-success. But the latter located 
their quarry, who had fled into a fastness of the Barrier 
Range. In accordance with a concerted plan the pursuing 
party now split up into three bodies, one under Sub-Inspector 
Drewry working round to the northward, while another, 
under Corporal Cadden, took a southerly direction. The 
third body, which included several Queensland trackers 1 and 
local natives who knew the country, approached the hills 
from the east side. The movement was carried out in the 
hours of darkness. All went well until the blacks were 
seemingly cornered. Then it was discovered that the strong- 
hold was not the trap that it had been believed to be. This 
particular hill was honeycombed with caves, which afforded 
many avenues of escape. After a sharp engagement, in 
which several of the blacks were known to be wounded, the 
police made an attempt to rush the place. They reached the 
top of the rocky hill safely, but found that Pigeon, Captain 
and Eelemarra had slipped through their fingers. They 
now saw that their shots could have done little real damage, 
as the entrances to the underground passages were well 

1 The presence of the Queensland black trackers is accounted for by 
the objection to having armed local natives in the district without a 
sufficiency of strangers among them to ensure their not joining the fugitives. 
Natives taken from adjacent stations were not above suspicion if 
left to their own device. 



guarded by broad flat rocks. It was a position that could 
have been held by an astute enemy. The only captures 
made by the troopers were some gins from whom valuable 
information was gleaned, and a number of stolen guns with 
ammunition,, tomahawks and axes. In one of the caves was 
found Gibbs' watch, still going. 

To make a long story short, the mounted police kept up 
the chase into the Leopold Ranges, travelling nearly three 
hundred miles, and drove the natives before them. At one 
deserted camp they came upon several articles that had 
belonged to Trooper Richardson and to Edgar. But for 
the timely warning of some gins the murderers would have 
been caught at one point ; the police were able to lay their 
hands only on a few of the one-time chain-gang prisoners 
In this vain pursuit December passed, and in the following 
month, Sub-Inspector Drewry retired to Derby, as the rainy 
season was making the country too difficult for travelling. 

An additional check to the hunt was afforded by the 
nature of the ground over which the tracking had to be done. 
The Barrier Range on the south side, where the party had 
principally to work, rises sheer out of the plain like a wall of 
rock. It is composed of carboniferous limestone which 
takes the form of pinnacles sharply pointed and smooth- 
sided. The action of water in the course of time has created 
thousands of caves, passages and crevasses, among which are 
water holes, all known to the natives. The limestone is of 
the hardest kind a piece almost as thin as the blade of 
a knife will carry a man without crumbling and tracking on 
it was next to impossible. That the police were more than 
ordinarily hampered in their work will be understood. For 
the time it was deemed wisest to call a halt and let the 
country quieten down a bit. The blacks were known to be 



in the ranges and a special party was detailed to watch for 
any movement on their part. 

At this juncture Inspector (now Superintendent) W. C. 
Lawrence was sent into the field by Commissioner Phillips, 
to take command of the operations and renew the pursuit. 
The band must have exhausted its ammunition, owing to 
the quantity recovered by the troopers under Drewry, and 
a continuous " drive " might prove successful in the end. 
Lawrence, therefore, set to work to scour the Fitzroy country 
thoroughly. A large force of mounted men and trackers 
penetrated the hills and patrolled the Robinson and Fitzroy 
Rivers, having for one of their guides a settler who had been 
badly speared by the blacks in a recent raid. 

By March, when the police had covered a distance of 
close on 1,200 miles, a great deal had been effected. The 
natives, to the relief of stockmen and other whites, were 
driven far up country, while Captain and a few other lead- 
ing spirits were captured. The ex-police tracker was tried 
for the murder of Richardson and duly executed. Pigeon, 
however, still remained at large somewhere in the north-west, 
and for a long time no news of his whereabouts leaked out. 
It was three years, in fact, before retribution overtook this 
black desperado. 

Early in 1897 the Fitzroy police reported the murder of a 
man named Thomas Jasper at a station in the Oscar Range, 
in the West Kimberley district. Pigeon was believed to be 
at the head of the attacking party. This surmise proved to 
be correct. His tracks having been followed up by Sub- 
Inspector Ord and a special body of troopers, he was cornered 
in his retreat among the hills and shot down by two of the 
Lennard police, Constables Buckland and Anderson. Many 
of his accomplices escaped in the network of caves and 



passages, which somewhat resembled those found in the 
Barrier Range. But with the death of their principal leader 
the blacks gave no further trouble, and the Fitzroy detach- 
ment ere long was able to report that all was quiet in that 
corner of the north-west. 

After Pigeon, the most notorious black criminal of recent 
years was undoubtedly " Major," who leapt into the public 
eye in 1908. This native was a servant in the employ of 
Mr. J. Kelly, of Texas Downs Station, in the Kimberley 
district. He originally came from the Northern Territory, 
where he lived close to the Queensland border. With two 
other blacks, Nipper and Dibby by name, Major attacked a 
homestead at Blackfellows' Creek and murdered two men, 
George Fettell and Thomas Davidson. The victims had 
been surprised while asleep, as their bodies were found lying 
in their bunks. This outrage was followed by another 
murder, that of a man named McDonald, at Texas Downs 
Station, and the three blacks took to the bush with a posse 
of police on their trail. 

In the hunting down of the murderers Troopers Fanning, 
Schultz, Yates and Baker took the lead. For native assist- 
ants they had Charlie, Dicky, Quart Pot, Dilly, Negri, and 
a sixth boy having the same name, Nipper, as one of the 
" wanted " men. The tracks of Major and his party were 
discovered and followed within a few weeks of the murders, 
the blacks being surrounded at Turkey Creek, a point on the 
Ord River. Then there ensued a brisk fight, no fewer than 
a hundred and fifty shots being fired before victory fell to 
the police. For a time it became a duel between Fanning 
and the black. When the latter was dislodged from his 
position on a hill the constable gave chase and had to face 
the combined fire of Major and Dibby. In the end native 



trackers Nipper and Dicky dropped Major with a couple of 
bullets in his head, and soon afterwards Quart Pot 
accounted for Dibby. The third man, Nipper, had been shot 
by others of the party. 

For their share in the deaths of Major and his accomplices 
the four police troopers received a reward of 20 each. A 
further sum of 20 was expended in purchasing suitable 
presents for the six trackers engaged. At the same time the 
Government acknowledged its appreciation of the services 
rendered by Messrs. McCulloch, Terone, and McLaughlin, 
who had been sworn in as special constables. These three 
stockmen were intimately acquainted with the country 
over which the search was pursued, and were largely 
instrumental in bringing about the success of the police 

Following upon these presentations the Police Gazette 
of Western Australia, under date April 8th, 1909, issued this 


" With the above distribution of Rewards [the list com- 
prised grants made between January 1st, 1907, and December 
31st, 1908) the system hitherto in vogue in connection with 
the granting of rewards annually on account of Favourable 
Records will be discontinued. The Police Reward Fund will 
now be closed, the amount provided on the Estimates in 
past years for the purpose having been removed. In future, 
only cases in which special skill, bravery or endurance are 
exhibited by members of the force in the discharge of their 
duty will be recommended for reward. Such cases, on 
being reported by District Officers, will be investigated and 
submitted for the consideration and approval of the Hon. 



the Minister, when a suitable reward will be granted from 

the Government Funds. 

" (Signed) FRED HARE, 

" Commissioner of Police." 

In their work in the bush the West Australian mounted 
police are armed with the Winchester carbine. Previously 
they used the Snider, which itself had superseded a muzzle- 
loading carbine fired with caps. For target practice the 
Martini-Enfield rifle has been adopted. Similarly the old 
type Colt's revolver of early days gave place to the Smith & 
Wesson weapon, and more recently to the Webley. In 
retaining the lance as well as the sword for parade purposes 
the force is alone among the police services of the Common- 
wealth. With their coloured pennons fluttering in the wind 
as they manoeuvre, the mounted men make a most effective 

The uniform worn differs little from that of other States. 
A trooper is dressed in blue cloth or serge tunic, and trousers 
of the same material ; white Bedford cord riding breeches 
for summer wear, and brown ones for winter ; and the usual 
outfit of helmet, cloak, and Wellington boots. One varia- 
tion from this regular dress is that in the northern districts 
khaki may be worn instead of serge. At the same time, 
it must be remembered that while out on a long trip, such 
as is entailed by a hunt for criminals of the Pigeon or Major 
type, the trooper policeman garbs himself in rough bush 
clothes, and is hardly to be distinguished from any stock- 
man or boundary rider. The items given above refer to the 
regulation dress which the mounted constable wears in the 
ordinary course of his duty. 

In former years the police cap was round with a long 
peak in front, but the helmet has now been in use some time. 



It is interesting to note that as this form of headgear does 
not commend itself to the trooper in the country districts, 
the Commissioner is contemplating the issue of a soft hat 
of the Stetson " cowboy " pattern. This, no doubt, will be 
welcomed for its advantages of lightness and shade for the 
eyes, while its smart appearance should go far to make it 
popular. Any one who has seen the Mounted Police of 
Canada and South Africa wearing the " cowboy " hat must 
have wondered why this useful article of headgear has not 
been already adopted by the police authorities of Australia 
for the up-country trooper. 

A word may be said as to enrolment. According to the 
conditions of the appointment of mounted constables, 
applicants for admission to the force must be over twenty- 
one and under thirty years of age, able to read and write,, 
and mentally, physically and constitutionally fit for service. 
They must not be less than 5 feet 10 inches in height, nor 
more than 11 stone 7 Ib. in weight, and must be able to ride 
well. If under 6 feet, they must be at least 38 inches in 
chest measurement ; if 6 feet or over the standard is 39 inches. 

With regard to the pay-sheet, Western Australia prides 
herself on treating her police servants generously. The 
candidate for either the foot or the mounted branch will 
find nothing to quarrel with in the following scale 



Lodging Allowance 
in lieu of Quarters. 



425 per annum. 

50 per aim. 

15 per ann. 


325 to 375 




250 to 300 



Detective Sergeants 

14/- per day 




11/6 to 13/6 


Free uniform 

Detectives . 

12/- to 13/- 


7 per annum 




Free uniform 

Constables . 

6/6 to 9/- 




A cave in the Barrier Range, north-west Australia. 


The trooper policeman of the western State, it will 
be understood, is a picked man. His examination on en- 
trance into the force is a severe one, for only the best are 
wanted, and his training at the Perth headquarters, once he 
has passed the preliminary stages, is such as to turn him 
out as well-equipped in every respect as the mounted con- 
stable of any other State. What has been noted already in 
regard to his multifarious duties and to his peculiar con- 
ditions of work in certain districts, is sufficient to convince 
one of the important part he plays in the development of 
the country. It is especially in South and Western Aus- 
tralia, with their vast areas of unsettled or only sparsely 
settled land, that the police trooper must be ranked with 
the pioneer whom he accompanies into the wilderness. The 
day is far distant when he will not be seen riding over the 
plains on his solitary patrol, an emblem of that authority 
which has made itself respected and feared by the white 
transgressor of the law, and which is schooling the unruly 
aboriginal into obedience. 

~ 329 



The Southern Cross discovery " Bay ley's Reward" The rush to Cool- 
gardie On the road Inspector McKenna Scarcity of water "To 
Three Camel Drinks, 12 " A record price Kalgoorlie Other 
goldfields A bogus "rush" The alluvial riots An Afghan murder 
" Bailed up " in daylight Coolgardie's gold escort robbed On the 
Kimberley goldfields A brutal murder Sub-Inspector Troy 
The pearling industry Broome " Cock-eyed bobs " Illicit pearl- 
buying The Ethel case A Malay pirate At Yampi Sound 
Mounted Constable Fletcher A notable achievement. 

IN the discovery of gold in Western Australia there was 
the same element of romance that had attended the 
birth of the eastern Eldorados. A chance thrust of a spade 
suddenly revealed the hidden treasure of riches over which 
men had been walking unsuspecting for years, and sent 
thousands into the scrub wilderness to seek their fortune 
with pick and shovel. 

In 1884 the Kimberley Goldfield was opened, but this 
was soon eclipsed in interest by the far richer fields in the 
south. The scene of the first " find " here was some distance 
below Southern Cross. At a small station one of the hands 
was engaged in digging a post hole when he unearthed a 
good-sized nugget. The news that gold had been found 
spread quickly, and a properly organised search party ere 
long laid bare two payable reefs. Shortly afterwards mining 
was commenced at Southern Cross with successful results. 
This was in 1887. For five years this field was worked by 



companies, and then, owing to the poorness of the ore and the 
high cost of production, the mines were shut down. Only 
a handful of two hundred men remained at the diggings, 
struggling to scrape a living in the best way they could. 

At this juncture came the turning-point in the fortunes 
of the State. In September, 1892, a prospector named 
Arthur Bayley rode into the little township with a startling 
story to tell. He had been in the back country " specking 
for slugs," that is, looking for surface gold, and at a place 
called by the natives Coolgardie he and a mate had collected 
several thousands of pounds' worth in the course of two days. 
He had then found a large quartz reef, which gave rich indi- 
cations of the precious metal. At Southern Cross the lucky 
prospector applied to Warden Finnerty for the claim that 
was his by right as the original discoverer, and so became 
possessed of the famous mine known as " Bayley 's Reward." 

The consequent rush to Coolgardie now left Southern 
Cross deserted. 1 Every man who owned, or who could beg 
or borrow, a mining outfit, hastened to the new field, while 
as knowledge of it spread the eastern States in time contri- 
buted their quota. Over the red sandy plains a canvas 
town sprang up with remarkable rapidity. As the railway 
then terminated at Northam, nearly three hundred miles 
to the westward, the prices of provisions and conveyances 
rose very high. Horses, which before the boom might have 
been bought for a few pounds, were now saleable at 50 or 
more each. It is not surprising that so many of the gold- 
seekers tramped the long dreary distance from " the Cross " 

1 It is interesting to note that as Southern Cross led the way in the 
opening up of these extensive goldfields, so was it the scene of the last 
boom. Only last year (1910) the discovery of the "Finch" group of 
mines in its immediate neighbourhood created a sensation that vividly 
recalled the days of the nineties. 



with their swags on their backs. The question to be con- 
sidered was whether the " soaks " and " gnamma holes " 
would yield them any water on the route. Sometimes they 
did, and sometimes not, as we learn from Mr. John Marshall, 
a Coolgardie pioneer, who gives us a graphic picture of the 
"rush " 

"Along with a few others," he writes, "we agreed to start 
in the early morning. The waggon with its six horses was 
got in readiness. Each of the party was provided with a 
water-bag, tent, provisions to last some time, and last and 
most important, our bed and bedding. The water which 
we took from Southern Cross was hoarded with miserly 
care, as it was considered uncertain whether on our long 
journey of 112 miles, every step of the way on foot, 
we would get any water at the ' soaks ' or not. The trip 
took us seven days. During the whole of this journey we 
never had the luck to get our face or feet washed, this being 
a luxury reserved for us when we would get to the end of 
our journey. 

" A big tank of water, which was kept for the horses, 
was also guarded with jealous care. We are afraid that 
had opportunity offered we should have thrown prudential 
considerations aside and ' nicked ' sufficient water to wash 
our begrimed faces and cool our weary feet. But alas ! 
opportunity never offered, and we had to trudge through 
the dust as best we could under a broiling sun, without a hope 
of getting any water to cool our parched faces until we could 
reach Coolgardie, and some of us who were * soft ' and not 
in training had our feet blistered and bleeding, and our 
hearts were sore before we got to our destination after our 
long tramp from Southern Cross the last stage of our 
journey and without a spell. 



" At several of the soaks ' where we expected to get 
water none was available, and the lack thereof put us to 
some inconvenience. At an accommodation house on the 
road, where we stopped for dinner, the landlady apologised 
for not being able to find us water in which to wash our faces, 
and informed us it was usual for travellers to * dry blow ' 
each other that is, knock the dust off each other with a 
handkerchief, and wipe their faces with a hat. There was 
a capital meal laid on the table, which was nicely served up, 
but none of us could obtain a glass of water, and we were 
limited to a single cup of tea. It must be remembered, 
however, that all the water being used had to be carted nearly 
fifty miles. We were not sorry when we learned that we 
were within easy distance of Coolgardie." 

In the mining town all was excitement and confusion. 
Each day had its rumour of big " finds," of new fields to be 
opened up, and many bogus rushes were reported. One 
striking feature of the new diggings was the absence of the 
" crook " element, the human sharks and wolves common to 
the mining camp the world over. They were not there to any 
extent, at least. Nearly all the miners were genuine, hard- 
working, law-abiding men, which accounts for the orderliness 
that prevailed. The mounted police, who were early on 
the scene under Inspector McKenna, had an easier task 
before them than that of the New South Wales goldfields 
police in the " roaring fifties." 

The principal difficulty, of course, was the water ques- 
tion. A big Government bore had been made, and this 
yielded salt water, which had to be condensed. It was 
then sold at a shilling a gallon. But this price was liable to 
fluctuation. It rose or fell according to the supply. 

John Dunn, a notable figure in old Coolgardie, once sent 
~ 333 


three camels across to a store to have the rough edge taken 
off their thirst. The animals started in on their drink, which 
was more of the nature of a muddy syrup than water, and 
the storekeeper stood by to check them. At last he cried, 
" Hold on ! that's all I can spare." Then he handed the 
Afghan driver a bill, as follows 

"John Dunn, Esq., 

" Dr. to the Pioneer Store. 

"To three Camel Drinks, 80 gallons @ 85. per gall., 12." 
Dunn paid it, but he remarked that it was a record 
" shout " even for him. 

At " Hannans," where the next big rush took place a year 
after that of Coolgardie, water rose in price to 5s. a gallon. 
It had to be brought in on camel-back or in carts from a 
lake nearly thirty miles away, having first to be condensed 
there on account of its saltness. The small quantities that 
were thus obtainable at certain times made water as precious 
as the gold for which men risked their lives daily. Perhaps 
the record price ever paid for a drink is to be credited to one 
Jerry McAuliffe. This gold-seeker set out from Kanowna 
in 1894 with a black boy, intending to strike the new Kurn- 
alpi field. His water gave out too soon, and there was no 
" soak " from which to replenish the empty bags. The 
two men toiled on for two days and nights without water, 
while their four horses were in even worse plight, not having 
tasted any for three days. But just in the nick of time they 
reached a condenser near ^Kurnalpi and filled their bags. 
This drink cost McAuliffe 15 11s., and it had to go round 
among both men and horses. 

Hannans 1 is now Kalgoorlie, a flourishing municipality 

1 So named after Pat Hannan, a prospector, who with a party was 
making for the newly-reported Mount Yuille alluvial find, when he 

334 ~ 


and the headquarters of the East Coolgardie goldfields. 
Including the latter district, its population is 33,000. At 
the end of 1893 there was nothing but bush where the town 
now stands. To-day there are miles of streets, with well- 
built imposing buildings, electric trams, and " all the con- 
veniences of modern civilisation," as the estate agents 
say. Through the enterprise of Sir John Forrest, who was 
Premier of the State, and the genius of the late Mr. C. Y. 
O'Connor, C.M.G., the engineer, water has been carried 
up to the goldfields by means of a pipe from Mundaring 
Weir, 325 miles away. This gigantic undertaking was 
completed in 1903. The assurance of good water put the 
seal on the new goldfield's success. Kalgoorlie can boast 
of mines that are among the richest the world has known. 
In sixteen years from its discovery this field alone yielded 
upwards of 350 tons of gold, worth 50,000,000. 

Owing to the incentive given to prospecting by the 
Southern Cross discoveries, gold-seekers ranged far and 
wide over the State. In due course the Pilbarra, West 
Pilbarra, Ashburton, Gascoyne, Murchison and Peak Hill 
fields were opened and developed, and townships soon 
sprang up around them. Though none of these centres 
was of the magnitude of Coolgardie or Kalgoorlie, the out- 
put nevertheless has been very great. The Murchison 
and Peak Hill diggings together have yielded something 
like ten million pounds' worth of gold. 

That the mounted police have had a fairly easy task in 
controlling the goldfields is true, but once or twice trouble 
of a serious kind has arisen. The bogus " rush," which 

stumbled across gold at Kalgoorlie. His original claim, which is still being 
worked in a small way, was soon eclipsed by the Golden Horseshoe, 
Ivanhoe, Great Boulder and other mines. 

~ 335 ~ 


sent prospectors far into the scrub land at the risk of life, 
was apt to rouse the miners to a high pitch of indignation. 
Sometimes such a stampede was engineered by store- 
keepers, who profited thereby in "a quick sale of their goods. 
Occasionally it was the outcome of a drunken frolic. A 
wild statement thus made would be taken seriously, and 
scores of men would dash off recklessly to test its truth. 
In the nineties Coolgardie witnessed several of these wild- 
goose chases, one of which nearly proved fatal for its author. 

In 1895 a miner named John McCann gave a circum- 
stantial account of a rich find he had made near Widge- 
mooltha, to the south of Coolgardie. On the strength of 
his assertions many parties set out for this district, but 
no traces of gold were to be seen. There now came a call 
for McCann. If he had found gold there, as he declared, 
it was up to him to substantiate his story. Men were in 
danger of starving on the new field ; some had suffered 
terribly in the return journey through the bush. Alarming 
rumours of this kind added fuel to the flames. McCann 
faced the music, although his goldfield was a myth. He 
blamed the local newspapers for magnifying what he had 
stated to them, but stoutly declared his willingness to 
lead a party to the ground. His offer was accepted. Four 
prominent miners accompanied him on the search to 
return unsuccessful a few days later. Then the storm burst. 

The thousands who had been fooled by what was now 
palpably a hoax demanded vengeance on its perpetrator. 
The house where McCann was lodged was besieged by the 
mob, and for greater security he was removed to the police 
station. There was no doubt as to his danger. The temper 
of the miners was such that he would have been lynched 
had they captured him. A strong body of troopers then 



formed up to check any further disturbance, and frustrated 
an attempt to wreck the office of one of the offending news- 
papers. Fresh trouble, however, broke out when the dis- 
appointed goldseekers returned from the Widgemooltha 
field, where they had been camped awaiting developments. 
McCann's effigy was publicly burnt, while the rioters threat- 
ened to wreck some of the buildings. It was some consider- 
able time before Inspector McKenna and his police could 
allay the excitement, but the mob was at last dispersed 
without any great damage being done. McCann, mean- 
while, was smuggled out of the town, a badly scared and 
thoroughly repentant man. 

A riot on a larger scale was occasioned in 1898 by a 
decision of the Warden at Kalgoorlie. According to the 
Goldfields Act of 1895, section 36, alluvial miners had the 
right to search for alluvial gold on leases, with certain 
restrictions. In the dispute in question the point was 
whether there was a reef on the lease of the Ivanhoe Venture 
Syndicate or not. The leaseholders on their side felt 
aggrieved that the Act confirmed the existence of dual 
titles, those of the leaseholders and those of the claimholders. 
The alluvial miners argued that they had a right to the 
alluvial gold, no matter at what depth it might be found. 
While this confusion of title was leading to friction between 
the two parties the Hon. Edward Wittenoom, the Minister 
for Mines, got the Government to pass a regulation limiting 
the depth to which alluvial could be worked to ten feet. 
This ordinance created widespread discontent, for other 
goldfields besides Kalgoorlie were affected. " Ten-foot 
Ned " became a most unpopular character. The case of 
the miners v. the syndicate then went before the Warden, 
the result being that the former lost the day. 

" jA$ ' 'V^* 

337 z .-'; 


Smarting under a sense of their wrongs, a large number 
of the alluvial diggers disregarded this decision and con- 
tinued to work their claims. Open conflict with the lease- 
holders at once ensued. The mounted police were called 
out frequently in the course of two months, the miners 
becoming more and more determined and threatening in 
their attitude. At one time there were as many as forty 
troopers in the district, the rioting having assumed a serious 
aspect. Many of those who resorted to violence were made 
prisoners and conveyed to Fremantle. Sir John Forrest, 
the Premier, now visited the goldfields in person, but his 
efforts to bring about conciliation met with a cold reception. 
There was no course left but to take the dispute into a 
court of law. This was eventually done, and the judges 
pronounced for the miners. As a consequence the Govern- 
ment proceeded to abolish the dual title, and to pass a new 
Mining Act (62 Victoria, No. 16) which defined the relations 
between leaseholders and claimholders in a more satisfactory 

Murders and other crimes of violence on the Coolgardie 
fields were extremely rare. The first case that occupied 
the attention of the police was the shooting of an Afghan 
camel proprietor by a fellow-countryman. The two men 
had quarrelled over some matter, and fearing that his 
own life was in danger one of them took the aggressive. 
The crime was committed with a revolver in a mosque, 
the victim being at his prayers. The murderer gave him- 
self up to justice readily and was hanged a few months later 
at Fremantle. 

Not a few Afghans, it may be said, were on the gold- 
fields at this period. They acted as water-carriers chiefly, 
their camels being able to bring in much heavier loads 



than a team of horses. The mounted police had an Afghan 
driver attached to the force who instructed them how to 
handle the beasts until they were able to manage for them- 
selves. Up to about eight years ago camels were largely 
used in police work, but their employment nowadays 
would only be necessitated by an expedition which led far 
into the interior. The extension of the railway and the 
linking up of districts by ^telegraph and telephone has 
simplified communication considerably. 

The absence of a criminal fraternity such as had char- 
acterised the older goldfields of New South Wales and 
Victoria has been commented upon. The diggers them- 
selves aided the authorities to keep the fields purged from 
this element. Nevertheless some daring robberies were 
attempted, a few of which proved successful. There was, 
for instance, the " bailing up " of two employes of a gold- 
mining company at Kalgoorlie, in 1899. The two men 
were driving in a buggy along the Boulder Road, about a 
mile and a half outside the town, with the fortnightly wages 
of the miners and other sums of money which they had 
drawn from the bank. The total value was nearly 5,000. 
For convenience this money was placed in three separate 
bags, one containing gold and notes, one silver, and the 
third copper. No police guard had been provided, as the 
possibility of attack on the open highway in broad daylight 
never entered any one's head. 

But attack there was. At a point in the road near 
which were no diggers' shanties a masked man suddenly 
stopped the vehicle with a command to " Bail up ! " To 
prevent any escape he promptly shot the horse dead, then 
levelling a Winchester rifle at the clerks' heads he bade 
them " Throw out the bag." It was evident that he expected 



the money to be all in one receptacle, for as one of the 
men stooped and lifted out a bag he contented himself 
with this, not stopping to examine it. He then edged 
away from the buggy, keeping the others well under cover, 
until he reached his horse, when he mounted and rode off. 

A couple of troopers who answered the alarm proceeded 
to the spot, but with unpardonable negligence did not 
immediately take up the pursuit. The robber thus obtained 
a good start and was never captured. In a disused shaft, 
on search being made, was found his black coat, some cart- 
ridges, and a blue handkerchief which he had converted 
into a mask. Of the money bag there was no trace, but 
there was some consolation in knowing that the loss was 
a trifling one. In his trepidation the clerk who had obeyed 
the highwayman's summons had thrown him the bag con- 
taining the silver, which amounted to little over a hundred 
pounds. The gold and notes were intact. 

Somewhat similar in method was the outrage at Cool- 
gardie, when an unarmed gold escort was stuck up by three 
masked men. On this occasion 800 was the value of the 
haul. The police troopers got on the trail of the robbers 
after the latter's victims had released themselves from 
their bonds and laid information, but though black trackers 
were employed the men were never caught. There are 
those who believe that these embryo bushrangers doubled 
back to the town, and further, that they belonged to the 
mining camp. However, the whole affair has remained a 
mystery to this day. 

A goldfields sensation of an earlier date was the murder 
of Anthony Johnson, a Norwegian prospector. This 
occurred in the Kimberley district in October 1886. The 
unfortunate victim had chummed up with a German, 



Frank Hornig by name, who determined to get rid of him for 
the sake of the other's horses and few belongings. Hornig 
at first lured Johnson down to the Mary River, alleging 
that gold was to be found there, but the presence of some 
other prospectors deterred him from this plan. He next 
selected a remote spot known as Hall's Gully, and here 
they pitched their camp under a big tree. The Norwegian 
was set to digging and presently had a deep hole in the 
ground to show his mate. It proved to be his grave. As 
he leaned over it, resting upon his spade, Hornig beat out 
his brains with a rifle stock. The German then buried 
the body in the hole and, to cover all traces of his dread- 
ful crime, placed a mat of grass over the spot. Then he 
possessed himself of the dead man's horses and outfit, and 
took to the road. 

One or other of the horses had bells on its bridle, and 
the jingling of these in the night time told a neighbouring 
fossicker, Jock McAlister, that a party in the Gully was 
breaking camp. Curious to see who had been there, he 
went round in the morning to investigate. While so doing 
he found his foot sink into some soft ground, which made 
the boot muddy. He washed off the dirt in the little creek 
near at hand and then returned to further examine the 
hole. In all probability, he thought, it was a cache of 
provisions or miners' tools. Taking a thick stick he probed 
into the cavity and, to his amazement, brought to view 
first a sack, then an opossum rug, and lastly a man's foot ! 

McAlister hastily filled up the hole again and went off 
to inform the police. Sub-Inspector Troy, the officer in 
charge at the diggings, accompanied him to the Gully, and 
there poor Johnson's body was uncovered. The camp of 
the two men on inspection showed that several articles 


had been burnt, while the Norwegian's boots were discovered 
in a bush a little distance off. A description of Hornig, 
whom many knew to have been Johnson's mate, gave the 
police the clue they needed. With the assistance of a 
black tracker they speedily got upon his trail, the Sub- 
Inspector taking with him Trooper Mallard. 

A few days later Hornig was overtaken on the road 
westward, whither he was riding with another prospector 
named Doyle. This man had quarrelled with his mate and 
had readily accepted the German's offer of his company. 
When the two troopers hailed them with a summons to 
" Stand ! " Doyle for the moment thought they were held 
up by bushrangers. With his big black beard and rough 
clothes the Sub-Inspector quite looked the part. The 
digger was more scared, however, when he learned the 
true nature of his companion. 

Hornig submitted quietly to his capture, but stoutly 
protested his innocence. " That's all right," said Troy, 
" we'll go into that when we get to Derby." The town 
was over 200 miles away, which meant a long and 
tedious journey. At the first Hornig believed that the 
police had arrested him simply on suspicion. Neither of 
the troopers had dropped a hint as to the discovery of the 
body. Johnson had gone away alone, he declared ; they 
had had a difference of opinion and parted company, that 
was all. The Sub-Inspector looked at the packhorse 
which he and Mallard had brought along and smiled grimly. 

Then the bolt fell. On the second day after the capture 
the packhorse suffered from some prickly blossom which 
the wind blew on to it from a wayside shrub. Irritated 
beyond endurance, it bucked and reared, and the straps 
of its pack becoming loosened, one of the articles therein 



slipped to the ground. It was the opossum rug. As his 
eye lighted on it Hornig's face whitened. He knew now 
that the secret was out, and from that moment his attitude 
of defiance dropped like a mask. For precaution the 
prisoner was chained to a tree at night, the policemen taking 
it in turns to stand watch. But with all their vigilance 
the German found an opportunity to open a vein on his 
arm, with the intention of committing suicide. Trooper 
Mallard discovered the attempt just in time. Hornig, 
who had swooned from loss of blood, was revived with 
brandy, and without further mishap was brought into 
Derby. Thence he was transferred to Perth, to be tried 
and condemned to death. He was hung at Perth gaol on 
April 4, 1887, six months after committing his dastardly 

In the north-west, besides gold-mining, there is another 
important industry that touches the police very nearly. 
Along the coast from Geraldton to Wyndham are the largest 
and richest pearling grounds in the world, and at various 
towns at Broome particularly there are numbers of 
alien immigrants of Asiatic nationality engaged in the 
business. Broome 's settled population may be put at 400 
whites and 1,500 Asiatics and natives. The diving for 
pearls and pearl shell is done mostly by Japanese and Malays, 
but Chinese, Javanese, Manilamen, and Kcepangs from the 
island of Timor, among others, represent the brown and 
yellow races. Australia as a whole does not look with a 
kindly eye upon these Easterns, but it would be difficult 
for the Government to deny their right to work upon these 
grounds. From time immemorial Malay beche-de-mer 
fishers have pottered about the north-west coast, while the 
Japanese have established themselves as pearlers for a very 

343 ~ 


long period. It is difficult to see, too, how the industry 
would survive but for the little brown men who go down 
into the deeps to reap the yearly pearl shell harvest. White 
divers have not proved as successful so far. 

Broome is the centre of the pearling industry. It is 
here that the main squadron of the fleet is equipped, for 
in the waters off this point of the coast " the Ninety 
Mile Beach " the shell is found in the largest quantities. 
That the supply is practically inexhaustible is proved by 
the fact that certain spots on the ocean bed, after having 
been cleared by divers, have been covered in the course 
of time with a new layer of shell. Pearling is undoubtedly 
one of Australia's most lucrative industries, for the output 
is enormous and the cost of production is reasonably low. 
The shell fetches on an average 200 a ton (it has reached 
the fancy price of 400) ; estimating the expenses of divers, 
crews and upkeep of boats, at 120 a ton, there is a good 
margin of profit. One diver is calculated to bring to the 
surface from four to six tons in a year's operations. In 
a fleet of twenty luggers, each of which carries one diver, a 
favourable twelve months' return will show a handsome 
balance sheet. And this is irrespective of what pearls may 
be found, the value of these being placed to a special profit 
account. 1 

The dark side of pearling is the bad season of the year 
when the storms burst upon that portion of the coast. These 
hurricanes, locally styled " cock-eyed bobs," make their 
appearance during the " lay-up " period at Christmas, 

1 For a twelve months' return at Broome the following is given : 
" Boats engaged, 378 ; value of boats and equipment, 136,181 ; number 
of men employed, 2,470 ; quantity of pearl-shell obtained, 1,534 tons ; 
value of pearl-shell obtained, 190,741 ; value of pearls obtained (approxi- 
mate), 73,370. 




but they are sometimes before their due time. Then woe 
to the lugger which is caught out in the open ! In 1908 
there were two such calamities, one in April and the other 
in the following December. In the first of these the loss 
of life was over 200, while some forty boats went down. 
That of December was almost as disastrous. As an 
illustration of the terrific force of these cyclonic storms, it 
may be stated that some of the luggers were hurled ashore 
high above the mangroves and deposited high and dry 
several hundreds of yards beyond the beach. It is the 
risk of this peril that the owner of a fleet must face. One 
such disaster may deal him a crushing blow from which it 
will be difficult to recover. 

Like the diamond industry of South Africa, pearling has 
its illicit gem buyer. The majority of this gentry are 
Orientals, some ostensibly engaged in legitimate businesses 
on shore, others working on the coastal and Singapore 
steamers. The masters of pearling luggers are still obliged 
to watch their coloured crews very closely, although the 
traffic in stolen pearls is not so great as it once was. A 
lugger's crew, it should be noted, in addition to white 
" hands," consists of seven coloured men, two of whom 
are the diver and his tender. The latter supervises the 
diver's movements under water, supplying him with air 
and watching for any signal on the life-line. Only seven 
permits for coloured labour are allowed to a boat by the 
Government. The Immigration Restriction Act provides 
heavy penalties for infringement of this and other regula- 
tions. Every alien thus engaged is indentured for three 
years, after which, if he does not renew his contract, he 
must be sent back to Singapore. It is from this port that 
the recruits are annually brought over. 



Not often does a very serious case arise calling for police 
interference. In Broome itself each nationality has its 
particular quarter, and usually keeps to it. At times, of 
course, there are racial quarrels and free fights, but these 
troubles are easily handled. The illicit pearl buyer may 
give a trooper a long and difficult chase, and he is likely 
to prove an ugly customer to tackle when cornered. These, 
however, are small affairs compared to what happened 
some seven years ago, when some enterprising spirits made 
an effort to revive the old trade of piracy for which the 
north-west coast once enjoyed an evil reputation. This 
is the story of it. 

In Broome at the time were two pearling owners, Captain 
Biddies and Captain Riddell. Each of them had a fleet 
of luggers out on the grounds off Cape Bossutt, and each 
was on the point of making his monthly visit of inspection 
in his schooner. As they sat together on the evening 
before their departure a wager was laid as to who should 
be the first to reach the grounds. The next day, a Sunday, 
the two vessels started on their race. The wind was light 
and they made fair running. At sundown, however, Captain 
Biddies noticed that his rival's schooner, the Ethel, was 
standing farther out to sea. He thought this proceeding 
strange, and when, in the morning, the schooner was not 
to be seen, he thought it stranger still. On his return to 
Broome the Captain reported the non-arrival of the Ethel 
to the police. 

From Broome the news was flashed along the wires to 
Derby, where Inspector W. C. Brophy 1 was in charge. 
This officer suspected foul play on the part of the mixed 

1 Now Superintendent of Police at Kalgoorlie. 
~ 346 ~ 


crew, and promptly communicated with Perth. He urged 
the authorities to advise the Malay islands, Borneo, Singa- 
pore and Penang, of the missing vessel, thinking it probable 
that it might make for one of these points. His surmise 
was a shrewd one. After the lapse of several days there came 
a message from the Straits Settlements police to the effect 
that they had arrested the crew of the Ethel. It only 
remained for West Australian police officers to proceed to 
Singapore to identify and secure the prisoners. 

At the subsequent trial at Perth the chief witness was 
the Chinese cook of the schooner. He related how, on 
the night when the Ethel had changed her course, to Captain 
Biddies' astonishment, a Malay named Pedro had headed 
a meeting of the crew and proposed to them to seize the 
vessel. Having won them over to his plan Pedro had 
then tomahawked the man at the wheel and the other white 
man on deck, and then gone down into the Captain's cabin. 
Unconscious of any danger threatening him, Riddell was 
looking at the chart outspread on the little table. He 
glanced up quickly at the sound of footsteps behind him, 
but the Malay drove his knife into the other's back and 
the owner of the Ethel died within a few minutes. 

The bodies of the three murdered men were chained 
together and dropped overboard to the sharks. Pedro, as 
the leader of the conspiracy, then took command of the 
ship. In true freebooter fashion he had liquor served all 
round, put on a short sword with a coloured sash, and 
tramped about the deck like a " first chop " pirate. After 
being four days at sea, during which time the schooner 
was cleaned of any traces of the crime, Pedro killed the 
aboriginal native who formed one of the crew (the rest 
were nearly all Malays), and was about to treat the China- 

- 347 


man similarly when the crew intervened and saved his 

The vessel was now put over to the Malay islands, at 
one of which in the dusk of evening it dropped anchor. All 
the pearls, shell and money on board were lowered into 
a small boat. The party then rowed ashore, while the 
Ethel, scuttled, sank at her moorings. But the pirates' 
enjoyment of their booty was short. They were arrested 
the same day, to be handed over to justice as has been 
described. In the end Pedro was hanged, the rest of the 
band being otherwise dealt with. 

Another pearling tragedy of the north-west was the 
murder of John P. Jones at Yampi Sound, in January 1909. 
This particular locality, which is a hundred miles north 
of Derby, has acquired a bad name through the treachery 
of the natives found there. Many pearlers do not care 
about sending their luggers thither. It was certainly an 
evil day for skipper Jones when he cast anchor in those 
waters. The blacks surprised him and his small crew and 
killed them forthwith. After which they held a big cor- 
robboree and made for the bush. 

Jones' mysterious disappearance and an ugly rumour 
that found its way to Broome led to Mounted Constable 
Fletcher being sent up to the Sound to investigate matters. 
Fletcher, who, if we are not mistaken, had only two native 
trackers with him, discovered how the murder had been 
perpetrated, and proceeded to arrest four blacks who were 
using the dead man's dinghy. Two of these were directly 
implicated in the crime. He returned to Derby with the 
prisoners, saw them committed for trial, and then returned 
to complete his work. There were other murderers and 
several witnesses to be secured. 



Fletcher carried out his difficult task with remarkable 
ability. Five more blacks who had helped to do the killing 
were captured and conveyed aboard the lugger on which 
he had sailed to Yampi Sound. One of the new prisoners, 
however, a big native known as Lowadda, was disposed 
to make a fight for it. The trooper closed with him and 
a violent struggle took place, which resulted in both falling 
overboard. There was a strong sea running at the time. 
In a few moments both men were carried some distance 
away from the boat, but Fletcher pluckily stuck to his 
prize. Eventually they were swept on to an island near 
the coast, where two other natives thought they were quite 
equal to rescuing their comrade. In this, however, they 
were mistaken. The trooper laid them out with his fists 
in true style, and when a boat pulled off from the lugger 
to his aid the discomfited blacks accompanied Lowadda 
as fellow prisoners. 

Of the seven criminals thus arrested one cheated the 
hangman by dying in Broome hospital. The others were 
duly sentenced to death and executed. Trooper Fletcher, 
meanwhile, received handsome commendation for his notable 
achievement one oi which the West Australian police 
force may well be proud and was further rewarded with 
a grant of 50. 




Notorious examples Methods of work Brand " faking " The Kellys 

" Plucking a brand " Police patrols Old Mrs. B A lost 

Hereford Where was the hide ? Jack Burrell " Tom Tit " Work- 
ing a stampede A trick cow An opal robbery Bowling out a 
thief Mounted Constable Freeman An arduous trip Benjamin 
Bridges, horse-thief Wonderful tracking. 

NO class of criminal, except the bushranger, has been 
such a constant source of trouble to the Australian 
mounted police as the " cattle-duffer." By this term is 
meant the professional thief who preys upon other people's 
stock. He is an expert at cutting out " mickies " (un- 
branded steers) from a herd and running them to some 
secluded spot where they lie hidden until ready for dis- 
posal ; and he shows remarkable ingenuity in the " faking " 
of brands. It is not likely that he will confine himself to 
cattle only. " Horse-planting," which is horse-stealing in a 
similar manner, comes just as readily to his hand. 

Many of the bushrangers of the later era graduated in 
this school. Several of the Gardiner gang were horse- 
thieves before they flew at higher game ; so, too, were the 
Clarkes and the Kellys. The last-named were taught by a 
past master in the art of " duffing," viz., Harry Power. This 
notorious character was regarded by the police as quite the 
smartest of his class. It was, perhaps, only natural that the 
criminal instinct should have found its outlet in this form. 



The temptations and opportunities for " lifting " stock were 
numerous, and the chances of detection apparently slight. 
Very little of the country over which the cattle or horses 
ran free was fenced in, and a great portion of it in the 
south-eastern states was well-wooded, offering numerous 
safe hiding-places. The stock-owners, by their careless 
system of grazing, contributed not a little to their own 

The simplest plan adopted was to muster a bunch of 
cattle raided from various quarters and drive the beasts by 
devious mountain tracks to some distant market. A Vic- 
torian " duffer " would sell his lot in New South Wales or 
Queensland, and vice versa. Or, again, on the border, cattle 
and horses belonging to one State would be placed in the 
pounds of the other, whereupon the thief would pur- 
chase them for the small sum usually demanded for such 
stock and resell his prizes to unsuspecting buyers. In this 
way they were able to produce a sufficiently good title. 

As a safeguard against identification it was necessary, 
of course, to remove or alter any brand upon an animal's 
skin. The early methods of " faking " were rough and 
ready, the marks being merely added to or branded over 
with a new design. Thus a brand B would be easily con- 
verted into BD or into |B|. Where an owner with more 
originality devised a monogram such as "E, comprising his 
initials T and E, a little skilful manipulation might change 
this into a B by clipping off the left side of the first letter 
and rounding the arms of the second. Sometimes a design 
was too intricate to be thus transformed. In this event it 
was generally burnt over so as to obliterate it, and a new 
brand was affixed elsewhere. 

Power and his followers, the Kelly s, went " one better " 


in the " faking " process. Not troubling themselves with 
branding instruments, they resorted to iodine, with which 
marks could be more satisfactorily burnt into the skin. After 
a mob of stolen horses or cattle had been gathered and 
driven to the gully or ravine in the mountains where the 
" duffers " had their haunt, they were thus branded with 
the desired mark. The animals were then kept until the 
sores had healed and the brands looked old. This scientific 
treatment had advantages over the earlier simpler methods. 
It was more difficult to detect the obliteration of a brand 
removed by iodine than that of one where an iron had been 

At the present time cattle-duffers are as wily as ever they 
were, although their depredations have been much restricted 
through the vigilance of the police. The elaboration of 
brands still proceeds : 055 becomes Q55, QBE becomes 08B, 
and so on. The variations are many. One popular form 
of " faking " that has been introduced with success is that 
of " plucking a brand." This is done by pulling out 
hairs from a colt, say, in such a manner as to form the letters 
of a brand on the skin. Of course, such a mark only lasts a 
comparatively short time, as the hairs grow again and 
obscure it. 

A great check has been placed upon stock-stealing by the 
regular patrolling of the main roads along which sheep, 
cattle and horses are driven. The mounted police stop the 
droves when it is considered advisable, and examine the 
permits to see that all is in order. By telephone or telegraph 
they are able to notify the police of another district should 
there be any occasion to suspect malpractices. In this way 
a new drover, or one who is known to have been engaged in 
" duffing " at some time or other, is carefully watched. It 



is, therefore, in the outlying parts that the thieves of to-day 
must work, and even there their chances of success have 
been much reduced. 

The difficulties against which the mounted police have 
to contend in the suppression of stock-stealing are many. 
Even when a hide is produced, as is insisted upon by law 
when fresh meat has been killed, there are ways of evading 
detection. It may be a hide of another animal, kept for 
use as a " blind," or it may have been skilfully doctored. 
A trooper needs to have a sharp eye and an intimate know- 
ledge of the cattle in his own district. And even when 
he is morally sure that he has located a thief and has seen 
through the subterfuge, some chance event will often help 
the guilty one out of the hole and baffle the law. 

In north-eastern New South Wales there was an old 

woman, Mrs. B , who with her three daughters was long 

suspected of " lifting " her neighbour's stock. One day 
a fine young Hereford steer was missing from a station near 
by. There were only a few animals of that breed then in the 
country, and it could be easily identified. The owner 
followed up the trail to where it had been driven, to Mrs. 

B 's home, in fact, and promptly asked for his property. 

The lady met him at the door of her abode, a roughly built 
wooden hut containing two rooms. 

' You've got my steer, Mrs. B ," said the stockman. 

" Not me," was the answer. 

" Well, I'm coming in to have a look round." 

" If you set foot in my house, Sam Hollams," exclaimed 
the lady, " I'll brain you ! " 

Sam Hollams camped outside to keep a watch on the 
place, and sent off a man to procure a search-warrant. In 
due course two police troopers arrived on the scene, in the 

353 AA 


face of which authority Mrs. B threw open her door. On 

the hut being searched some freshly killed meat was found 
in a tub, and this, Hollams firmly believed, represented his 
missing steer. But there was no evidence. Where was the 
hide ? Every corner of the place was ransacked, and at 

last old Mrs. B herself was bundled out of bed to allow of 

that useful piece of furniture being examined. Then, from 
under the mattress, was dragged a hide, but it was a white 
one ; that of a Hereford is, of course, brown. 

Nonplussed for the moment, the police rode off to a 
neighbouring selector. 

" Have you lost any cattle lately, Mr. Campbell ? " they 

" No, I don't think so," said the other. 

" Not a white cow ? Are you sure ? " 

" As sure as I can be without rounding up my lot." 

" Well," said the senior of the two troopers, " just come 

over to Mrs. B 's and have a look at the hide we've 


The selector followed them to the hut and there identified 
the brand on the hide as being his. This was good enough 

to proceed upon, and Mrs. B was arrested. But at the 

trial she was able to prove that one of the young Campbells 
had actually offered her a cow ; she had taken the white 
one by mistake. The case at once fell through. That the 
fresh meat was the Hereford steer there could be no doubt. 
The brown hide had been burnt or buried, while the other 

skin was kept to shield it. Mrs. B had a narrow escape 

of being convicted more than once after that episode, but 
though she was able to snap her fingers in the face of the 
police, the old adage about the pitcher that goes often 
to the well proved its truth in her case. She was eventually 



sent to prison for a long term, and her part of the country 
enjoyed a pleasing rest from cattle- thieving. 

In the north-west of Australia, in the Kimberleys, some 
years ago there was a notorious character, a " king of cattle- 
duffers," whom we will callback Burrell. He was an expert 
stockman of the first grade. When a large mob of cattle 
had to be taken across rivers in flood time there was no one 
more in request than he. Station owners would hire him on 
such occasions and pay heavily for his services rather than 
risk their beasts to less skilful management. They were 
well aware, at the same time, that Burrell would take toll 
from the mob. That had to be put up with. The usual 
thing that happened was a stampede at night. In the 
morning the cattle would be rounded up again, but one or 
two were sure to be missing. Burrell 's friends knew of their 

A stampede can be effected in several ways. Cattle are 
not difficult to frighten. With Burrell the trick was as 
follows. He owned a famous trotting cob named Tom Tit, 
which he had trained perfectly. On the cattle coming to a 
halting-place, such as the Black Swamp, near Deniliquin, 
N.S.W., on the road to Sydney, he would wait till night and 
then cover himself and Tom Tit with a long white sheet. To 
guide the cob with his feet was a simple matter, and as the 
two plunged into the mass of cattle the panic was set in 
motion. The next day he was again busy on Tom Tit, 
earning a reward for recapturing the scared animals. 

This horse of Burrell's was almost as clever as its master. 
In flood time it worked alone in the water on one side of the 
surging cattle as they swam across a river, while Burrell 
attended to the other side. The cob obeyed orders by word 
of mouth or the motion of a hand in a truly wonderful man- 



ner. In addition to this valuable helper the stockman 
owned a cow and a calf, each of which he had trained care- 
fully. They were taught to lead the mobs over the rivers 
and prevent them from " ringing," that is, circling in the 
water instead of going right ahead. Cattlemen in the west 
cherish a vivid memory of Burrell's " trick cow and calf." 

The end of Tom Tit was a sad one. When he saw camels 
for the first time he took fright, reared and fell so badly that 
he broke his legs. There was no hope of saving his life ; a 
police trooper mercifully shot him. Burrell sorrowed greatly 
over the loss of his faithful servant, and duly took his 
revenge. He shot fifteen camels before he went away. It 
was never proved that he did so, for his rifle could not be 
found, but the wise ones had their own reasons for knowing 
the truth. 

Although it does not bear on the subject of cattle-duffing, 
there is a story about Jack Burrell that may be considered 
worth recalling. It points the saying that to be a good rogue 
you must be a clever rogue. A robbery had occurred 
between Whitecliffes and Wilcania, a parcel of opals having 
been snatched from the coach that passed over the route. 
The actual thief was a youth who had succumbed to a 
sudden temptation, but Burrell was popularly credited with 
the deed. 

" You must have made a good haul that time, Jack," 
said a friend. 

Jack swore that he wasn't the culprit, as at the time of 
the robbery he was a hundred miles away. " But," he 
added significantly, " the next time it happens you can bet 
I shall be in it ! " 

Not many weeks later the coach was again robbed, 
despite the fact that a police guard sat on the box-seat by the 



driver. The basket containing the opals had been placed 
in the rear of the vehicle, but no one saw it disappear. Bur- 
rell's boast being recalled to mind, he was taxed with the 
theft. He denied it vehemently, and what was more to the 
point, was able to bring conclusive evidence that he was at a 
certain township a good many miles distant on the evening 
of the occurrence, both before the time of the robbery and 
after. His evidence was not only irrefutable, it was true. 
By means of a relay of swift horses he had ridden from the 
township to the scene of the robbery and back, covering the 
distance in an incredibly short time. And no one knew this 
until long afterwards, when the incident had been for- 

How a horse-thief was cleverly bowled out was related 
to the writer by a Victorian mounted police inspector. This 
officer was riding along a bush road with a brother trooper, 
both being in plain clothes, when they met an individual for 
whom they had long looked. He was a farmer strongly 
suspected of stealing horses, but hitherto shrewd enough to 
cover his tracks successfully. The two policemen reined 
in their animals, and critically inspected the three horses 
which the other man had in tow behind him. 

" Do you care about selling any ? " asked Inspector 
R casually. 

''' Yes, at my price," returned the farmer. 

" And what's that ? " 

" 20 apiece," came the answer. 

The Inspector glanced at his companion. " They 
wouldn't fetch much in India, would they ? " he queried. 
The other officer gave his opinion on the Indian market and 
they exchanged comments on the animals. This assured the 
farmer that he had to bargain with two genuine dealers, 



and he hastened to add that he had several other horses for 

After some haggling a deal was apparently brought off. 
Then, as he had averred that the horses had been bought 
by him in the first place, the farmer was requested to pro- 
duce his receipts. He willingly complied. Inspector II 

looked at them closely, as also did his brother officer. The 
papers were all in the same handwriting and the different 
signatures were obviously from the same pen. 

" Yes," said R , " quite satisfactory. Now we'd 

better tell you who we are." 

Conviction followed quickly upon arrest, and a danger- 
ous horse- thief went into penal servitude for fifteen years. 

In the hunting down and capturing of rogues of this 
description police troopers have frequently to go very far 
afield. A ride of two or three hundred miles counts for 
little in their eyes. Australia is a country of immense dis- 
tances, and away from the railway line one must push 
through the endless leagues of bush and scrub on horse or 
camel as may be. It was a long journey that Mounted 
Constable Freeman, of the West Australian force, took in 
the apprehension of horse-thief and cattle-duffer Bridges, 
some years back. It even led him from his own State into 
the recesses of the Northern Territory. As an example of 
how a trooper carries out his duty after receiving his instruc- 
tions it will bear narration in full. We may note, too, in 
passing, the tribute that is paid to the black tracker engaged 
in the pursuit. 

The prisoner, Benjamin Bridges, was an escapee from 
Murrurundi Gaol, New South Wales, where he had been 
serving a ten years' sentence for horse-stealing. While in 
the Kimberley district he had worked on several stations, 



doing a little " duffing " on his own account when possible. 
It should be mentioned, further, that several constables and 
trackers had previously tried to get on the trail of this man, 
but without avail. Freeman's success was largely due to 
his skill as a bushman, which one will appreciate the more 
remembering the difficult nature of the north-west back 
country. Here is his account of his long trip. 


EAST KIMBERLEY DISTRICT. Argyle Police Station. 

Jan. 1, 1900. 

" I beg to report that on the 2nd of November last, 
whilst on patrol with P.O. McGinley on Argyle Station, I met 
a stranger with two packhorses and boy. From description I 
recognized him as Benjamin Bridges, for whom a warrant is 
out for escaping from custody both in Queensland and New 
South Wales. I called on him to stand, and in reply he 
galloped away. We pursued him until the police horses 
we were riding collapsed and he got out of our sight. I then 
got a fresh horse from the head stockman on Argyle and one 
for native assistant Pluto, and tracked him into the Ord 
River and from there into W. Long and W. Irwin's camp 
(these men are making a paddock for the Argyle people). 
Here I found his horse, quite knocked up, tied up in the river, 
and from the tracks concluded that he had got a fresh horse 
and gone. Tracking from here is impossible, owing to the 
great number of shod horses about the camp and to constant 
visits of men from Argyle Station and elsewhere. 

" I went back to Argyle Station and found P.O. McGinley 
had got Bridges' boy and packhorses, went"on to Rosewood 
in the night, and next day down on to the Auvergne 



road, where I met Bridges' other boy with more horses and 
packs. The boy told me he had not seen his ' boss.' I took 
the boy, horses and packs back to Rosewood, and next day 
started P.O. McGinley down to Wyndham with them. I 
myself, taking one native assistant and Bridges' boy, 
' Larry/ went straight through the bush for Auvergne 
Station, where Bridges had been camping and, having 
satisfied myself that he had not been in that direction, came 
back to Argyle where I heard that he had been seen in the 
mountains near W. Irwin's camp. I spent three days and 
nights in the mountains on foot, but could get no trace of him. 
Went back to Police Camp, shod fresh horses and went out on 
top end of Lissadell Run, got tracks on Blackfellows' Creek, 
ran them to Cartridge Springs, found Bridges' horse, ' Via- 
long,' camped in vicinity of the Springs for three weeks, 
leaving horses and camps in Limestone and myself and boys 
watching the house and surrounding hills night and day. 
I saw tracks of the offender several times, but could make 
nothing of them and was afraid to show myself in the day- 

" On the 13th of December saw where McAttee (who is 
looking after Cartridge) had ridden on to my tracks and seen 
where my horses were. As it was useless to stop longer, I 
went down to Turkey Creek in the night and got fresh 
supply of rations, wired to headquarters and shod horses, 
arrested man Annois per instructions from headquarters, 
and detained him until arrival of P.C. O'Brien with warrant. 
I then handed over prisoner, and left to follow the tracks 
of a man named Joseph Stevenson, who is, I know, a friend 
and adherent of Bridges, and who has been poking about 
Turkey Creek in a very suspicious manner for the last four 
or five days. Ran his tracks to Bow River 20 miles, saw 



where he had had a drink of water and started straight back 
again. Camped, and self and boy spent day looking for 
tracks. About 3 p.m. cut track of man walking in nailed 
boots and native barefooted. Felt certain this was my 
man, so followed it up till night. Camped near Mt. Pitt ; 
no water. 

" Next day (22nd) left camp at daylight on foot, followed 
tracks all day along base of Mt. Pitt, all on stones (wonder- 
ful tracking here on part of native Pluto), and had terribly 
hard time. Could not make one mile an hour ; no water, 
sun very fierce. Saw where Bridges had come to an old 
soak just dry, and had scraped up wet mud to rub over him- 
self to cool his skin. Saw also where he had stumbled 
and fallen several times, probably from exhaustion. At 
sundown reached spring at south-east side of Mt. Pitt, saw 
where Bridges had camped about two or three days before. 
Went up into the hill to try and escape mosquitoes and 
slept ; quite knocked up, no food. At daylight sent boy 
Larry back for horses, and, as tracks were heading for spring 
on east point of Mt. Pitt, went straight for it, got water, 
which was very acceptable, followed tracks all day track- 
ing terribly slow, tedious work. Horses caught us up at 
sundown ; cooked some food and had supper. Had short 
sleep, and in the night walked to Mt. Eveline (Station Hill) 
and tried to find camp fire. I knew L. Deignhardt was 
camped on a spring somewhere about this mountain, and 
offender would be sure to make there. 

" Could see no fires, so returned to camp at daylight, 
had breakfast and sleep ; afterwards packed up and went 
on to junction of Limestone Creek and Bow River. Got 
there at sundown, obtained fresh horse and rode into Lissadell 
Station at 8 p.m. All asleep there, woke up J. J. Durack, 



manager, ascertained from him where Deignhardt was 
camped, about five miles from station, had some supper, 
left station at 10 p.m., went to within two miles of Deign- 
hardt's camp, let horses go, and went on on foot all night 
trying to find spring. Very unpleasant owing to rain. 
Towards daylight found camp, got into it unseen and saw 
all occupants ; Bridges not there, but his other boy was. 
Boy told me that Bridges had left three days ago on horse- 
back for Auvergne (riding one shod horse). I took boy, 
went back and got horses and pack, came off to Lissadell 
Station, had dinner (Christmas Day), shod three horses, left 
3 p.m. and went due west trying to cut tracks. Camped 
on Blackfellows' Creek. 

" Next morning got track of one shod horse going in 
direction of Denham, followed tracks which left route 
generally taken over * jump up ' and which went straight 
over ranges. I think Bridges lost his whereabouts here. 
We followed on foot ; terrible job getting horses over range. 
Got down at sundown and camped on Cabbage Tree Creek. 
Next day ran tracks to Denham River, near house, left 
packs, took native assistant Pluto and rode towards house. 
When near house saw horse tied up to tree outside ; left 
native assistant to watch it and told him if any man ran 
from the house towards it, and I shouted to him, he was to 
shoot it and so prevent further escaping on horseback. 
Myself rode straight to the house. 

" No one saw me coming. Just as I pulled up in front 
of verandah I recognised offender in the room inside, talking 
to some one. He looked up, saw me jump from the horse, 
and with an exclamation ran out into the back verandah. 
I rushed after and overtook him in corner of verandah and, 
thinking he was armed, covered him with my revolver and 



told him to stand. He obeyed, and I called up the native 
Pluto, who got my handcuffs from my saddle-bag. Having 
secured offender I told him who I thought he was and form- 
ally arrested him, warning him as to making any statement. 
He only said, ' You have caught me fair. For God's sake 
don't put more chains on me than you can help ! ' I told 
him that it depended on himself how he got treated and 
took him to the camp. I left that afternoon and came six 
or seven miles ; next day came to the Twenty Mile ; then 
to Wyndham, and handed prisoner over to Wyndham 

" I feel bound to state that this prisoner gave me not 
the slightest trouble during the time I had him under arrest. 
I had him handcuffed day and night, and at night chained 
his leg to my own. He all the time behaved exceedingly 
well, and used to assist in getting away in the mornings 
by every means in his power, catching and saddling his own 

" I was on the trail of this offender from the 2nd of 
November to the 27th of December, and ^during that time had 
absolutely no real rest night or day, and was exposed to all 
the changes of the weather. It is greatly to this that I 
attribute my health collapsing. I cannot speak too highly 
of the unfailing energy and tireless persistency of native 
assistant Pluto, who tracked this man every yard of the way 
he went. I do not believe there is another native in the 
district who could do it, and am certain there is not one who 
would not have got disheartened and lazy by our continual 
failure to run our man to earth. This boy was all the time 
just as eager and determined as myself, and but for him, I 
could never have had the chance of arresting Bridges. 
"A. FREEMAN, M.C. No. 192." 


To this illuminating record it may be added that Trooper 
Freeman was rewarded with immediate promotion to the 
rank of corporal and a money grant of 50 from the New 
South Wales Government. Of this sum 5 was to be laid 
out in purchasing suitable presents for native tracker Pluto. 
" Offender " Bridges was returned to Sydney under escort, 
and re-sentenced to two years' hard labour. 

~ 364 



The Moreton Bay settlement Convict town Expansion Convictism 
again The anti-transportation movement Dr. Lang Free immi- 
gration Black troubles Native Mounted Police formed Frederick 
Walker Disbandment and re- organisation Brutal methods Uni- 
form and distribution Early days Mr. E. B. Kennedy Amour 
propre Mr. G. Murray Police force established Gold discoveries 
Mount Morgan mine A gold escort tragedy Cattle-duffing and a 
murder Mr. D. T. Seymour, Commissioner Police duties Mr. W. E. 
Parry-Okeden, I.S.O., Commissioner Major W. G. Cahill, Commis- 
sioner Rank and pay Present distribution. 

THE discovery of the Brisbane River in 1823 was the 
first step towards the settling of the future great 
colony of Queensland. Flinders had seen its mouth twenty- 
four years earlier, but had passed on without suspicion of the 
noble stream so near. It was left to Surveyor-General 
Oxley to proclaim its existence, and even then Oxley owed 
his knowledge to two castaway seamen who had been 
living among the blacks on the mainland. The Surveyor- 
General had been sent north from Sydney with instructions 
to find a spot suitable for a convict settlement. The three 
penal establishments of Hobart, Norfolk Island and Port 
Macquarie were overcrowded ; a fourth was necessary. Dis- 
approving of Port Curtis, his original destination, Oxley 
reported favourably on the district round Moreton Bay, 
into which the Brisbane empties itself, and the Government 



prepared to occupy it. Thus it was that Queensland started 
on her career with the undesirable taint of convictism. 

The first batch of prisoners was despatched from Sydney 
in September 1824, and eventually settled down on the 
present site of Brisbane fourteen miles up the river. Fol- 
lowing the system of the other convict establishments, that 
of Moreton Bay had its separate classes of criminals, among 
whom the work of road-making, building, etc., was appor- 
tioned. The " incorrigibles " were not few in number. 
Captains Millar, Bishop and Logan, the early commandants, 
had an unenviable task in ruling the little settlement. 
When, in 1829, female convicts were added to the list, the 
difficulties were increased immeasurably. The eighteen 
years of convictism which marked the first half of the pre- 
separation period are the " dark ages " of the colony. All 
the barbarisms of Van Diemen's Land, the brutality, cor- 
ruption and immorality, were repeated, particularly the 
recourse to the lash. Old-timers have left many records of 
the terrible scenes that used to be witnessed when a batch 
of prisoners underwent flogging. As many as thirty or forty 
would sometimes receive flagellation in the two hours between 
eight and ten in the morning, the men being strapped to 
triangles, and we read that the cobblestones ran with blood. 

The last draft of convicts under the old regime reached 
Brisbane in 1839. In New South Wales the agitation for 
the abolition of transportation was then fast gathering 
in volume. As we have seen, the system came to an end in 
the following year. In Moreton Bay, however, while the 
prison roll was not augmented, the conditions remained 
practically the same until 1842. Then news came that the 
settlement was thrown open to free immigration, and shortly 
after Lieutenant Gorman, the last of the commandants, 



resigned the control of affairs. He was succeeded by Dr. 
Simpson, who had been appointed Acting Police Magistrate 
for the district, and who, in turn, was superseded by Captain 
J. C. Wickham. With the ordinary machinery of Govern- 
ment for a free community provided, and the public sale of 
lands pushed forward, settlers were attracted to the embryo 
colony. There was a wide field before them. Allan Cun- 
ningham and successive explorers had made known the 
Darling Downs and the basin of the Fitzroy, and the west- 
ward country of the Maranoa, the Barcoo, and the Thomson, 
and into these fertile, well-watered valleys the squatters 
quickly followed. 

This extension of settlement had the ultimate effect 
of threatening the Moreton Bay district with a fresh danger 
of convictism. In 1849 Earl Grey urged that " as England 
had spent large sums of money in New South Wales, the 
colonists in return should assist the motherland by taking 
charge of some of her criminals," and in support of this 
view he proposed that Moreton Bay should be made a place 
to which transported felons might be sent ; and that it 
should be separated from New South Wales for that purpose. 
His proposition received no small measure of support from 
the squatters, who found labour scarce. The Colonial 
Secretary intimated that he intended to send out with the 
convicts their wives and families, together with the wives 
and families of military pensioners, and girls from the work- 
houses. In accordance with this plan the transport ship 
Mount Stuart Elphinstone arrived in the Bay in July 
1849, with over 200 convicts on board. Previous batches, 
it must be noted, had been dumped there by the Hashemy 
which the citizens of Sydney had resolutely turned from 
their shores, and by the Rudolph. The newcomers were 

367 ^ 


disposed of to pastoralists as " assigned servants," but 
the settlers soon had their eyes opened to the nature of their 
bargain. Scores of the bondmen " jumped " their agree- 
ments to find a more congenial, if less legitimate, living in 
the towns, and there arose a cry for more adequate police 

The outlying settlers were those most in favour of the 
employment of " exiles," as the felon immigrants were 
termed. They had been denied the free labour that was 
assisting to develop the other colonies, and labour of some 
kind or another they must have at any price. The ex- 
perience of former years did not deter them from inviting a 
revival of transportation. " I would rather have the pick 
of the gaols," said one squatter," " than the refuse of the 
workhouses." And Patrick Leslie, one of the first to occupy 
the Darling Downs, voiced the opinion of many others when 
he stated that his gang of twenty-two assigned convicts 
were worth any forty men he had since seen. This squatter 
party went still farther. Desirous of advancing the cause 
of Separation they were ready to secure it, if possible, at 
the cost of ticket-of-leave labour. A Northern Districts 
Separation Association was formed, and a petition was 
despatched requesting her Majesty to erect Moreton Bay into 
a separate colony and employ it as a penal settlement. 

In opposition to this section was another in which the 
moving spirits were several " free " immigrants who had 
reached the country under the auspices of Dr. John Dun- 
more Lang. 1 Anti- transportation meetings were held in 

1 The energetic advocate of encouraging artisans and other " free " 
emigrants to settle in Australia. Dr. Lang was largely instrumental 
in bringing about the separation both of Victoria and Queensland. In 
1847 and the two succeeding years he chartered three vessels for Port 
Phillip, and three for Moreton Bay, which brought out several thousands 



Brisbane, and the'agitation grew in strength. After resolv- 
ing that " While we admit that there is a great want of 
labour in this part of the colony, there are no terms, how- 
ever favourable, that the Imperial Government could offer 
us that would induce us, with our own consent, to receive 
convicts from the mother country to this part of the colony," 
the protesters formally petitioned for the immediate cessa- 
tion of the system. Their prayer was heard. In April 1851, 
the Sydney Morning Herald announced : " His Excellency 
the Governor has received a despatch from the Secretary 
of jState intimating that her Majesty has been advised to 
rescind the Order-in-Council making the colony a penal 
settlement." Before this decision had been arrived at, 
however, the transport Bangalore had been sent on her way to 
Moreton Bay with nearly 300 " exiles " and their families. 
She arrived a few weeks after the above official proclama- 
tion, and with the landing of her human cargo Queensland 
saw transportation to her shores definitely cease. 

In the meantime the little colony had other troubles 
to combat. The invasion of the pastoral lands by settlers 
with their flocks and herds in time brought about the usual 
complications with the natives. Murders of station owners 
and other outrages became so frequent that the Government 
sent a small detachment of soldiers to Helidon, a township on 
the road to the Downs, to keep the blacks in order. This 
military guard remained there for three years, by the end 
of which time that part of the country had been rendered 
safe. In 1848, for the protection of the squatters on the 
Burnett and Condamine Rivers, a force of native mounted 
police was raised, this being the first corps of its kind in 

of prospective settlers. During his political career Dr. Lang was involved 
in much controversy. He died at Sydney in 1878. 

369 B B 


Queensland. The troopers were recruited in New South 
Wales by Frederick Walker, the explorer, who had as 
second in command Lieutenant Marshall. The experiment 
proved highly successful, and ultimately the force was 
increased to allow of detachments being distributed over 
the northern districts. For its upkeep a tax was levied 
among the squatters generally. Then, after several years 
of useful service, the police were disbanded by the Govern- 
ment which was seeking to economise and which was lulled 
into a false sense of security by the comparatively peaceful 
condition of the country. 

The folly of this step soon became evident. The Aus- 
tralian aboriginal in his natural state must be ruled by 
fear, and the removal of the only check upon them gave free 
rein to the natives' inclinations. Tragedy now followed 
upon tragedy, until in 1857 the Government was induced to 
re-establish the force. Thus the Native Mounted Police of 
Queensland, a corps that has been closely identified with its 
development, came into being for the second time, to 
commence an uninterrupted service that extended over 
forty years. 

The usefulness of the black troopers in preserving order 
was undoubted. They did their work, in a sense, even 
better than a white force could have done it. But at the 
same time their methods were not always commendable. 
The savage enjoyment which a native displays in killing 
one of a different tribe often impelled the police to extreme 
measures. In those early pioneering days an outrage com- 
mitted by a black generally led to a wholesale slaughtering 
of the offender's tribe. The most terrible scenes were wit- 
nessed, the white officers of the corps being often active 
participators in the massacres or passive consenting parties, 



powerless to hold the troopers back once their blood lust had 
asserted itself. 

When two natives were reported to have murdered a 
settler on the Condamine, a body of police rode out to arrest 
them. The blacks were found holding a corrobboree with 
the rest of their tribe, and the troopers, surrounding them, 
dealt out so-called justice in a fiendish manner. Volley 
after volley was fired into the crowd of painted, dancing 
figures, for whom there was no escape. Then they leapt in to 
finish the work at closer quarters. An officer of police, whose 
name is mercifully suppressed, is credited with having cruelly 
tortured a native boy who was suspected of complicity in 
some crime. He ordered the prisoner to be tied by his 
wrists to a beam in the verandah of the police barracks, and 
then himself " flogged and kicked his victim until he was 
so maimed that he died." 

There are many far too many similar instances of 
brutality placed on record. What has been urged on 
the other side, that the subjection of the natives by force of 
arms was imperative, has much truth in it. The aborigines 
were warlike and treacherous, and their attacks on their 
white neighbours were characterised by acts of revolting 
atrocity, but their provocation was often great. The story 
of one colony's black warfare is like another's. To kill and, 
if possible, exterminate the natives has been the policy 
mainly followed in past years. When all is said and done, 
the treatment of the blacks by the mounted police and by 
the majority of the squatters must ever remain a dark blot 
on Queensland's page of history. 1 

1 In 1861 a select committee of the Queensland Legislative Assembly was 
appointed to conduct an inquiry into the working of the Native Mounted 
Police force and the condition of the aborigines generally. A considerable 
number of witnesses were examined and certain reforms recommended. 



By 1860, the year following upon Queensland's separa- 
tion from New South Wales and assumption of responsible 
government, the Native Mounted Police was represented by 
three lieutenants, eleven second-lieutenants, nine camp 
sergeants, and a hundred and twenty troopers. The uniform 
was of dark green, the trousers having a red stripe down the 
side. The cap was of white drill with a peak sticking straight 
out, but this was at times replaced by one of heavier mater- 
ial and black or dark green in colour, with a red band. 
On active service in the bush the troopers paid little atten- 
tion to appearances. Trousers and caps were the first 
things to be discarded, and a tunic might or might not be 
worn. A Garibaldi shirt enjoyed much popularity, but 
for comfort and convenience the black policeman preferred 
to ride bare to the skin. In the distribution of the force 
a district was allotted six or eight troopers under the com- 
mand of one white officer. At first the military rank of 
lieutenant was retained by the latter, but after the passing 
of the Police Bill of 1863 officers were known as Inspectors 
and Sub-Inspectors. 

The " Black Police," as the native mounted troopers are 
best known, were something of an irregular force. Mr. 
E. B. Kennedy, who served for many years with them in the 
northern districts, tells us much in his book of the corps' 
earlier days. 1 No examinations were required of those 
desirous to join. So long as a man bore a good record, could 
ride and understand the use of firearms, he was eligible to 
become an officer. As for drill, beyond a few simple 
forms, or any sort of red tape, there was nothing to worry 
about. There was no need for it, in fact. The true " drill " 

1 The Black Police of Queensland, to which the reader may be referred 
for much valuable and interesting information concerning the force. 



belonged to the " boys," whose training had begun as soon 
as they were able to walk. To be able to scout well, to 
swim and to fight, were all the qualifications demanded of 

Mr. Kennedy joined the force as Acting Sub-Inspector 
at 9 a month and rations. His instructions, written out 
briefly on official paper by his senior officer, were as follows : 
' You will patrol the stations named in the margin, render- 
ing assistance to the squatters in the event of their calling 
on you for protection from the aborigines. Keep a full and 
daily journal of your doings, etc." Thereafter he was em- 
ployed in making trips of six or eight weeks' duration at a 
time, with a patrol consisting of himself, five " boys," and 
eight or ten horses, the spare ones being wanted to carry 
a tent and rations. The troopers were armed with muzzle- 
loading smooth-bore carbines, but not with any other 
weapon. It is not counted for wisdom to trust a black with 
a revolver, any more than it is deemed wise to trust him 
out of your sight. The cardinal rule in the Police has been : 
Keep your troopers, if armed, in front of you. Over-con- 
fidence in the loyalty of his " boys " has cost more than 
one N.M.P. officer his life, just as it did Mounted Constable 
Richardson of the W.A. force. 

Nevertheless, there was some safeguard against treachery 
in the fact that the troopers were enlisted from different 
tribes, among whom there was no camaraderie. A black 
from the north had nothing in common with one from the 
south ; in natural conditions each would have killed the other 
with keen relish. There was, too, something in the status 
that was given the troopers by their uniform. " To show 
how they used to pride themselves on their amour propre 
and position under their officers," says Mr. Kennedy, " I 

373 ~ 


was talking to a ' boy ' in a hut 1 one evening, when a station 
hand put his head into the window with the remark : ' I 

thought I smelt a black ! ' Before I could realise 

what had happened, there was a rush, the trooper seemed 
to take a header through the open window and was pur- 
suing the insulter of his skin, who only saved his own by 
gaining the door of the main building and bolting it behind 
him. I need hardly remark that all officers treated their 
' boys ' with as much civility as if these latter had been the 
home-bred Tommy Atkins." 

There were many native raids and outrages to keep the 
Black Police busy, although nothing occurred of quite so 
terrible a nature as the massacre at Cullinaringo, the station 
of Mr. Wills, in 1861. On this historic occasion no fewer 
than twenty-three whites perished at the hands of the 
blackfellows. They were avenged by Lieutenant Cave, of 
the N.M.P., and his detachment of troopers. The police, 
under the able control of Mr. G. Murray (afterwards chief 
magistrate at Brisbane), continued to carry out their duties 
efficiently, and despite the charges of cruelty and inhumanity 
that have been levelled against them, they certainly have 
contributed largely towards the later development of the 
colony. But " the whirligig of time brings in his revenges." 
The fuller settlement of Queensland, the extension of the 
railway and telegraph and other concomitants of civilisation, 
in due course lessened the need for their services. In 1900 
the corps was disbanded, and those of its members who 
cared to re-engage were attached to the general police force 
as native trackers. 

1 The barracks for the accommodation of N.M.P. officers were built 
of logs, roofed with bark. The black troopers had " gunyahs," or huts, 
of their own outside the main building. These gunyahs, which stood in a 
line, were mere sheds of bark open to the air all round. 



Following upon the constitution of Queensland as a 
separate colony in 1859 a police force distinct from that of the 
Native Mounted Police was established for ordinary duty in 
the capital. It was several years before white troopers were 
regularly stationed in the outlying townships ; the blaek 
police were sufficient to patrol the country. One of the 
first needs for a white police force arose with the discovery 
of gold in the colony. The first " find " was at Canoona, 
on the Fitzroy River and about thirty miles from Rockhamp- 
ton. This was in June 1858. A " rush " thither ensued, 
and ere long fifteen thousand miners had gathered upon 
the field. There was not room for all, and while some stayed 
to settle on the land and to lay the foundations of the 
future prosperous town of Rockhampton, others went pros- 
pecting in various directions. To encourage discovery the 
Government offered rewards of large sums. 

The next goldfields to be opened up were those at 
Calliope, Crocodile Creek and other places in the vicinity of 
Rockhampton ; at Mount Wheeler, Eidsvold, Gympie, the 
Palmer River, and Charters Towers'. That of Gympie proved 
to be exceedingly rich in its returns, several huge nuggets 
being found there, while Charters Towers has taken its 
place as the leading goldfield in the State. But all these 
discoveries were eclipsed in 1878 by the revelation of the 
Mount Morgan mine. Here was a veritable mountain of 
gold, such as no one would have believed to exist outside the 
pages of the Arabian Nights. 

Its history, moreover, savours of romance. The hill 
was originally occupied by two selectors, Donald and Sandy 
Gordon, who came to grief through losing their cattle from 
drought and other causes. They then found it necessary 
to obtain fresh employment, and one of them, Sandy, 



took service under two brothers, named Morgan, at Mount 
Wheeler. One day a piece of gold-bearing stone was shown 
to the Morgans as a specimen from the " run " owned by the 
Gordons. The former were practical miners and investigated 
the hill, to their satisfaction. The " find " was no ordinary 
one, and they bargained with the proprietors for its sale, 
eventually purchasing the selection at the rate of 1 an 
acre. The portion of the hill that was outside Gordon's 
fence was secured later under mining lease. In this way the 
Morgans became possessed of what proved to be the most 
valuable gold mine in the world. The hill which cost 640 
to buy was sold within a few years for 8,000,000. A com- 
pany was ultimately formed to work it, and so enormous 
has been the yield that the shares have actually touched a 
market value of nearly 18,000,000. 

To this early period of Queensland's mining days belongs 
one of the saddest and most tragic events in the annals of 
the trooper police. This was the murder of a sergeant and 
constable of a gold escort while travelling in the Peak Downs 
district. The leading figure in the drama was John Thomas 
Griffin,who held the important positions of Police Magistrate, 
Gold Commissioner, Commissioner of Crown Lands, and 
Inspector of Police at the town of Clermont, two hundred 
miles to the north-west of Rockhampton. At this place 
there was a newly-opened goldfield, which was being worked 
very profitably. Every month or so a consignment of gold 
that had been purchased by the local bank was sent down 
under escort to the Australian Joint Stock Bank at Rock- 
hampton, the escort then returning with the equivalent 
value in notes and bullion. The police guard consisted of a 
sergeant and two troopers. 

Inspector Griffin at the time had got into [pecuniary 

'/I , 


i. A firing party, 2. In the " gunyah" lines. 


difficulties, but no one probably connected this fact with the 
circumstance that he one day decided to accompany the 
gold escort on its trip. He gave out, as his reason for doing 
so, that he suspected an attempt at robbery on the part 
of some bushrangers. The sinister design which actuated 
him, as was shortly after revealed, was now thwarted by the 
officer in charge of the escort, Sergeant Julian. When his 
superior ordered him to camp at the Mackenzie River Cross- 
ing on the way down the sergeant refused. He condemned 
the spot as unsafe, owing to the thickness of the scrub. 
Griffin thereupon made no further effort to interfere, and 
the party rode into Rockhampton to deliver up its charge to 
the bank. 

On the following day the escort, with its fresh pack of 
specie, started on the return journey. The Inspector accom- 
panied it to its first camp, which was made near a lagoon 
not many miles out of the town. He had intended to leave 
the troopers here and to make a visit to his fiancee, who 
lived in the neighbourhood. But, as things fell out, this plan 
miscarried. In the evening, while the three members of the 
escort were busy with the horses, Griffin set the billy boiling 
for tea and had all ready for them when they came in. 
That he had tampered with the pot was clear to at least one 
of the party. The bitter taste of the tea, which caused them 
to spit it out instantly, aroused Julian's suspicions, and he 
told the Inspector that he wished to resign his post. There 
had been bad blood between the two men for some time, 
the sergeant standing in some dread of his superior. 

The escort now returned to Rockhampton, where 
Julian remained behind. When a fresh start was made one 
of the troopers was appointed acting-sergeant in the other's 
place, so that .the party consisted of three all told. All 



went well on the journey until the crossing at the Mackenzie 
River was reached. Then, in accordance with the Inspector's 
instructions, a camp was formed in the scrub. He himself 
purposed going no farther than this point, having left his 
horse at " Bedford's," a public-house which they had passed 
a mile back on the road. With Bedford he had arranged 
to ride into Rockhampton early the next morning. 

The public-house proprietor received his visitor at the 
hour named and could not help remarking upon his haggard 
appearance. The Inspector protested that he was quite 
well and that nothing had happened beyond a scare from 
bushrangers. He had fired off his pistols in the night to 
frighten off the intruders. The two men then mounted 
and went on their way, but at the lagoon already alluded to 
Griffin left his companion and turned his horse in the direc- 
tion of his lady-love's house. That was all that was seen of 
him until three or four days afterwards, when a mailman 
brought the startling intelligence that the two escort 
troopers had been found dead in the bush at the Crossing. 
They had evidently been "stuck up," robbed and murdered, 
as the camp was in great disorder and the specie bags had 

In Rockhampton there was the utmost consternation. 
Griffin at once came forward and formed a party to inquire 
into the matter, the other members being Sub-Inspector 
Elliott (the police officer stationed in the town), the bank 
manager, and two doctors. To these was added a black 
tracker. All the way to the scene of the tragedy the In- 
spector betrayed unusual nervousness. He was seen to be 
suffering under a great strain, especially after they had 
passed Bedford's place. Sub-Inspector Elliott, remembering 
particularly the strange story told him by Sergeant Julian, 



put two and two together and came very near to guessing 
the truth. His suspicions received confirmation at the camp, 
where the doctors' examination of the dead men proved 
that they had been poisoned by strychnine. As they had 
evidently shown signs of recovering from its effects the 
murderer, or murderers, had given them their quietus by 
putting a bullet through the head of each. 

The black tracker, meanwhile, was busy searching the 
ground all about the camp, and the only tracks he could find 
were those of a man with a small boot. Into these footprints 
Griffin's foot fitted exactly. 

" My God ! " exclaimed the Inspector, putting up his 
hands to his face. " I can't bear this any longer ! " 

Elliott came forward and touched him on the shoulder. 
" I arrest you for the murder of these two troopers," he 
said. And, producing a pair of handcuffs, he took his senior 
officer prisoner. 

The end of this miserable story is that after due trial 
Griffin was convicted of the crime and executed. Under 
cross-examination it was elicited from him that he had 
appropriated certain police funds, among other peculations, 
but nothing could induce him to disclose the whereabouts 
of the gold escort's treasure. The secret was revealed 
only at the last moment to the warder who attended the 
condemned man, and then the bundle of notes and gold was 
found to have been stuffed inside a hollow log close by the 
old lagoon camp. It had been carried there by Griffin on 
the morning that he and Bedford had ridden back towards 

This tragic tale of treachery is fortunately without 
parallel in the police records of Queensland or any State. 
The other crimes which stand out prominently in the New- 



gate Calendar of the'^colony arejassociated with native 
raids, cattle-stealing and the like. Among these there is 
the case of the Kenneths, that will be remembered for 
the sensation it caused. 

The Kenneth family, comprising the father and two sons, 
had a cattle " run " on the South Australian border. In 
their district they enjoyed an unenviable reputation for 
" duffing," being very justly suspected of driving off other 
people's unbranded colts and steers and adding them to 
their own herds. It was impossible to see, otherwise, how 
they could have got together such a large stock as they 
possessed. One day a branded bullock belonging to an 
adjacent station was found on their " run," and a mounted 
constable went up to investigate the case. On his way 
to the Kenneths the trooper called at the station in ques- 
tion, and, against his will, was joined by the manager of it. 
The latter, as was well known, " had his knife into the 
offenders," and the policeman feared that there would be 
trouble. He was right. The presence of the station manager 
precipitated matters. 

What happened was described by the native tracker 
who made the third of the party. He was not on the spot 
at the first moment of the encounter, but as he was bringing 
in the horses he heard the men quarrelling and, turning the 
corner of the house, saw the manager knocked down. One 
of the younger Kenneths then fired at the fallen man. 

" Shoot the blankety nigger ! " was the shout that 
greeted the tracker as he stood surveying the scene. The 
next instant a bullet whizzed past him, burying itself in the 
woodwork of the building. But though he was pursued and 
again fired upon the " blankety nigger " escaped to ride 
to the nearest mounted police station and spread the news. 



A police party searched the Kenneths' station in vain for 
traces of both the manager and the constable, and interro- 
gated its inmates with like ill-success. The Kenneths said 
the two men had ridden on after the quarrel. They had 
promised the bullock should be returned. It wasn't their 
fault that it had got on to their run, to begin with. As for 
the shooting, the " nigger " had lied. There had been no 
" gun trouble." This was all very plausible, but there were 
some tell-tale shot-holes in the wall of the station house. 
The police renewed their search with greater zest, and at 
last happened upon a clue. 

In the remains of an old camp fire, at one end of the 
" run " they found three or four policemen's buttons. That 
was all left to tell of the fate that had befallen the missing 
men, but it was enough to hang the Kenneth brothers. The 
father, against whom the black was unable to directly 
testify, was acquitted. 

Of the many mounted police officers whose names are 
inseparably linked with Queensland's history of D'Arcy 
Uhr, Poingdestre, Aherne, and their famous contemporaries 
it is impossible to speak here. Their deeds, for the most 
part, are chronicled in stray books of reminiscences, in the 
pages of De Satge, Edwin Palmer, and other pioneers, but 
they may yet be gathered together and so be given the 
wider audience which they well merit. We must pass on 
to the later aspects of the police. 

Since the seventies, when Mr. D. T. Seymour was first 
Commissioner, the force has undergone few alterations. 1 
Out of the total number, less than a thousand, a large pro- 
portion are mounted men stationed singly, or in twos and 

1 The later statutes affecting the administration of the force are 
" The Police Act Amendment," 1891, and " The Police Service Amend- 
ment," 1900. 

- 381..- 


threes, at townships and settlements. Here their duties 
approximate to those of the troopers in other States ; they 
are Acting Clerks of Petty Sessions, Registrars in several 
capacities, Assistant Land Commissioners, Licensing In- 
spectors, Collectors of statistics for half a dozen Government 
Departments, and so on. The distinctive offices that are 
to be noted are Protector of Aborigines and Inspector of 
Pacific Islanders. And in this connection the present Com- 
missioner, Major W. G. Cahill, reiterates the complaint made 
by every other chief of police in the Commonwealth. He 
says, in his last report : " As I have stated previously, 
extraneous duties still press heavily on the Police as an 
encumbrance to their more effective services for ordinary 
police duties in the detection and prevention of crime, more 
obviously apparent in country districts, where constant 
patrolling is necessary among the stock-stealing confraternity, 
whose predatory instincts are actively alive to the fact that 
the Police in many places are being tied down to office work 
for other Departments when they should be out patrolling." 

Commissioner Cahill was appointed in 1905, having 
previously served in the force as Inspector. His immediate 
predecessor was Mr. W. E. Parry-Okeden, I.S.O., a 
Victorian who migrated to Queensland to take up pastoral 
pursuits. After several years' pioneering work Mr. Parry- 
Okeden entered the force in 1870, as Inspector of Police and 
Customs Border Patrol. He became Commissioner in 
1895, and retired on pension after ten more years' service. 

The rank of Superintendent does not obtain in the Queens- 
land police force. After the Commissioner the grades (foot 
and mounted), with their rates of pay per annum are : 
Chief Inspector, 450 ; Inspectors, 1st class, 400, 2nd class 
350; Sub-Inspectors, 1st class 300, 2nd class 250, 



3rd class 200 ; Senior Sergeants, 170 ; Sergeants, from 
152 upwards ; Acting-Sergeants, from 118 to 144 ; 
Constables, from 108 to 134 ; Supernumeraries, 5s. per day. 
The pay of native trackers ranges from 1 to 1 5s. per 
month. 1 All commissioned officers receive free quarters 
and expenses when travelling on duty. 

In the matter of uniform the authorities have discarded 
the old jumper and loosely fitting cloth jacket, and followed 
the usual model of blue tunic and trousers of serge, with a 
white helmet for full dress and forage cap for undress. For 
bush work the trooper wears a broad-brimmed khaki hat 
of felt, turned up and caught at one side, differing from 
the headgear adopted by any other Commonwealth police, 
with the exception of the new " cowboy " hat which it 
is proposed to introduce in the Western Australian force. 
For bush work, too, khaki or moleskin trousers are the order 
of the day. In the towns the trooper changes this garb for 
white Bedford cord riding breeches and high black boots 
of the regulation pattern, while a sword by his side adds a 
touch of military smartness to his appearance. The carbine 
now generally in use is the Winchester, but some divisions 
still retain Lee-Enfield rifles, or the older Martini-Henry 
which superseded the Snider. In addition to this every 
mounted man is armed with a revolver. 

The distribution of the force over the twelve police 
districts of the colony, together with the special branches 
of service, covers the whole area from the New South Wales 
border, in the south, to Thursday Island, at the top of Cape 
York peninsula, in the north. It is an area of 670,500 square 

1 After four, eight, and twelve years' service constables receive 4 a 
year extra for long service pay. All unmarried members are allowed 
quarters, fuel, and light ; also married men having over five years' service. 
Native trackers are provided with uniform and rations. 



miles. 1 In this far northern tropical district, the chief 
centres of which are Cairns and Townsville, sugar, rice and 
bananas are grown. This necessitates the employment of 
coloured labour, Kanakas being brought over from the South 
Sea islands. To prevent any repetition of the abuses of 
earlier years, when the natives were freely swindled of their 
pay by unscrupulous planters, the Queensland Legislature 
in 1868 passed the " Polynesian Labourers Act " to regulate 
the island traffic. For a time there was a suspension of the 
system, owing to the antagonism that existed towards 
coloured labour of any kind, but better counsels prevailed 
and the re-engagement of Kanakas was sanctioned. One of 
the principal duties of the mounted police of the north is 

1 The distribution of the Queensland Police Force (foot and mounted) 
for the year 1910, was as follows 











































Brisbane . . 











Criminal Investi- 

gation Branch 







Cairns . 























Hughe nden 





















Normanton . 




























Townsville . 









Water Police 

Brisbane and 

Thursday Island 








Grand total . 

















to inspect the plantations, and satisfy themselves that the 
requirements of the Government are being met. 

On Thursday Island are stationed a sub-inspector, one 
sergeant and five constables. At this spot is the head centre 
of the extensive pearl-shell and beche-de-mer fisheries of 
the north-east coast. As is the case with the west coast 
pearling towns, the population of the island is very mixed. 
Europeans rub shoulders with Negroes, Malays, Chinese, 
Japanese, Indians, Arabians, Chilians, South Sea Islanders 
and other races, in the mingling of which trouble must sooner 
or later arise. Still, the little squad of police maintain 
order with a firm hand, stepping in to check racial squabbles, 
hunting down the pearl thief, and maintaining a vigilant 
watch over the wily Chinese opium smuggler. A trooper's 
billet ^amid such surroundings is no sinecure, but the same 
may be said of the Queensland mounted police all over 
the " back " country. The pioneer days have not yet 
altogether ended. 



Queensland Police Medal. 

385 cc 



In olden days The bushranging era Notable characters Recruiting 
An instructive art Early schooling Women trackers " Mayella " 
Lost in the bush Reading a track A Murchison story " That 
one Kendy track " An object lesson in scouting A " jackeroo " 
hunt On the trail Found at last " Billy " A South African 
test Pay Past and present. 

SO much has been said already with regard to the native 
trackers retained for hunting down criminals and other 
purposes, that some further account of their exploits and 
methods of work will not be out of place. These individuals 
have played, and still play, a most important part in the 
history of the mounted police of Australia. 

Who was the first tracker to place his services at the 
disposal of the authorities it is impossible to say. As far 
back as 1826 we find Governor Darling recommending the 
engagement of native assistants by the police, l but doubtless 
their marvellous powers had been demonstrated long before. 
Through the old bushranging days, in Tasmania and in New 
South Wales, the trackers rendered invaluable aid to the 
white troopers, and when the second great outbreak occurred 
they were again very much to the fore. The first one to 
become prominent at this period was an aboriginal whom 
Sergeant Brennan, of Yass, introduced into the force. This 

1 See page 20. 


was in 1862. The example of keeping a native permanently 
attached was followed by Inspector Sir Frederick Pottinger, 
who had two trackers with him at Forbes, in the Bathurst 
district. From that time there was never any doubt as to 
their usefulness, and various divisions of the force in New 
South Wales and Victoria enrolled black trackers in their 

With regard to these it must be understood that we are 
speaking of native trackers apart from the black police 
corps that were formed in early days. The latter performed 
much excellent work in this direction, but their duties were 
mainly those of ordinary troopers. Black police, for example, 
patrolled the goldfields. their employment being one cause 
that led to the miners' revolt. 

Of the special black trackers of the sixties one may 
mention Emmett, whom Sergeant Brennan trained at Yass 
and lent to Sergeant Byrne to help the latter in the hunt 
after the Clarkes. Emmett ran the bushrangers very close, 
so close, indeed, that they and their friends put a high price 
on his head and made several attempts to shoot him. How 
Sir Watkin Wynne, one of the pluckiest natives ever in the 
service, lost an arm at the capture of the Clarkes has been 
told. Sad to say, he afterwards went to the bad. The 
praise he received, together with the reward money, turned 
his head, and he drank himself to death. There was, too, 
" native assistant Bileela" who for over sixty miles tracked 
the miscreant who tried to wreck a train near Wagga Wagga. 
Bileela had a curious career. He was befriended by Sir 
Patrick Jennings of Victoria and educated at Lyndhurst 
College, but this taste of civilisation was sufficient for him. 
After several attempts to follow a settled occupation he 
gave it up and went back to aboriginal life in the bush. 



Many native-born white Australians were themselves 
very proficient trackers ; it is enough to refer to Mounted 
Constable Chalker, of the New South Wales police, whom 
Captain Zouch had with him in the Southern Patrol. This 
trooper is credited with some very clever performances in 
the tracking line. 

So far as the police are concerned, the native who has 
spent many years among white men, living in the same 
surroundings, soon loses his value as a tracker. His senses 
become dulled. The wild life that developed the blacks' 
wonderful faculties of sight and smell is necessary to main- 
tain them at the proper pitch. The best trackers are 
invariably those who are taken direct from an aboriginal 
camp. Any mounted police officer will testify to the truth 
of this. " When I want a boy for bush work," says one 
Inspector, " I go straight to the nearest tribe and pick out 
the likeliest looking of the lot one about seventeen or 
eighteen, if possible. After he has served me I send him 
back, knowing that I can get him again if needful, and that 
in the meantime he won't be rusting." 

The ability to track is not confined to a limited number. 
All aborigines possess it in a more or less degree. It is 
instinctive, hereditary, the outcome of generations of a keen 
struggle for existence in a land where food is none too plen- 
tiful. Australia's native creatures are few, and peculiar in 
their habits. To hunt down a kangaroo or an emu, both of 
them very rapid in their flight, calls for exceptional skill. 
In the pursuit of these and lesser game, such as wallabies, 
wombats, and opossums, the black must know how to 
distinguish the separate tracks of their feet, and know, too, 
whether these are recent or old. By constant practice from 
childhood upwards, and the aid of an eyesight that is 



the keenest of any savage people in the world, he learns 
to read the story of a bush track as none other can read 

The schooling of an aboriginal in this respect begins 
very early. As a child he is set to play games in which 
animals and birds are the principal figures. Footprints of 
various creatures are drawn by him in the sand, seemingly 
for amusement, but actually as part of his education. Later 
on he is taken in hand by the man whom he accompanies 
into the bush, learning each day something that quickens 
his intelligence. Nor is it only the boys who thus develop 
this power. The native girls and women are often quite as 
good at the game. A New South Wales police officer in- 
formed the writer that he had known some remarkable 
instances of this. 

" Quite the smartest tracker I ever had," he said, " was 
a young gin, and she was deaf and dumb. These defects 
may have intensified her other faculties ; I should think 
they did so, as she could follow up a trail with unerring 
certainty. Her father was a good tracker in his time, but 
he went blind and had to drop out. The girl worked with 
him at first and picked up a lot from the old man. I've 
known that gin to find a horse that had strayed after several 
others had tried and failed. 

" Her best performance happened when I was a trooper 
up in the Brewarrina district. A child a boy of nine went 
out with some others into the bush for a pic-nic. Towards 
the end of the afternoon he wandered off by himself and got 
too far. They ' cooeeyed ' for him, but didn't receive any 
answer. If he was within hearing distance he was probably 
too badly frightened to shout back. Any way, he just 
went on and on as any one will who gets bushed ; and it's 



wonderful the distance even a child can travel in the cir- 

" The bush in this part was particularly bad. It was 
thick, heavily timbered with gums and ironbarks. When we 
were called out to join in the search early the next morning, 
I took the gin, Mayella, with me. There were a lot of people 
out in various directions, but she soon picked up a trail and 
went off on her own. She was riding a small brown horse, 
sitting astride as native girls do, while I was on my mare. 
After the trail had taken us a few miles, I lost sight of it 
entirely. How Kitty (that was our own name for her) could 
follow it beat me. But she was a wonder ! Then we came 
to a place where it stopped dead. Kitty got down and went 
on her hands and knees examining the bushes and grass 
minutely, and shaking her head with the little moaning noise 
she used to make when troubled. 

" ' You're stumped, old girl,' I said to myself. It wasn't 
any good speaking to her, you see. 

" But I was wrong. When she jumped on her horse again 
she turned him sharp off to the left, through some longish 
grass. And away off to that side, about forty yards from 
where we had stopped, she picked up a fresh track. Ten 
minutes later we found the littlelchap lying under a tree asleep. 
He had been travelling round about a good part of the night 
and was fairly tuckered out. Now, how that gin knew that 
other trail was away off over there, I can't say. You can 
call it instinct, or what you like. Anyhow, she just went 
straight to it and found it ! " 

Such a story might be deemed incredible were it not 
given on good!authority. But it is little more marvellous 
than many other stories that are told of black trackers. 
Where the ordinary observer's eye cannot see anything out 



of the common an aboriginal will read a whole page of facts. 
They literally stare him in the face. A dislodged stone, a 
turned leaf, a broken twig, a few grains of sand left on a 
patch of rock all tell him something about what has passed 
that way. From a horse's hoofmarks he will tell you both 
the size of the animal and the time that has elapsed since the 
impressions were made. By the way a hole is dug of a tree 
notched he will probably tell you what tribe the man belongs 
to who did the act. A tracker has even been known to say 
that the man (a complete stranger to him) whose trail he 
was following was knock-kneed, and he proved to be right. 
Instances might be cited without number ; the police records 
are full of them. 

In the Murchison River district some time back a mounted 
policeman had an experience that opened his eyes to a 
tracker's powers. He was out on a patrol with another 
trooper, each having a native boy with him. At a certain 
point the two men parted company, one of them, Kennedy, 
striking off to the south-east in the direction of Nannine. 
The other, Trooper Houlahan (he is a sergeant at Kalgoorlie 
now) kept on his road due east. 

After having travelled for five or six days Houlahan 
was surprised to see some horse tracks meeting his trail and 
running parallel to it for some little distance. There were 
the tracks of three horses, which he thought an odd circum- 
stance. A settler, on a ride round his run, usually has but 
one other horseman with him. However, he could only 
note the fact as unusual, and he rode on, letting the matter 
slip from his mind for the moment. Presently there came a 
loud hail from behind. He turned to see his boy, Jacky, 
waving a hand excitedly. 

" Come here, boss," he called out, " come here." 


Houlahan rode back a few yards and saw Jacky pointing 
eagerly to the tracks. 

" Look, boss," he said, " Mine think it that one Kendy 

" Nonsense," returned the trooper ; "we left Kennedy 
far behind us. He hasn't been this way at all." 

" Mine still think it," persisted the tracker. Then, dis- 
mounting, he took a nearer view of the hoof marks. " Yes, 
boss," he went on, " that all one Kendy track. That one 
big black horse Kendy ride ; that grey one Charlie ride ; that, 
little horse for pack." And he proceeded to name the three 
police horses correctly, "Newark," "Nipper," and "'Fancy." 

" You're wrong for once, Jacky j " laughed Houlahan 
" I tell you Kennedy is gone to Nannine. He isn't round 
here ; can't be, in fact ! " 

But Jacky swore he wasn't mistaken, and nothing the 
other could say would move him. The trooper was the more 
sceptical because Jacky had certainly only seen the horses 
once before, and that was in August, when they were at the 
barracks, unshod. It was hard to see how he could define 
their hoof prints and length of stride. 

They rode on again towards their destination, and some 
hours later met a settler whom the trooper knew. 

" Hallo ! " cried the latter. " Going up to my place ? 
Where is Kennedy ? I thought he'd be with you." 

" Kennedy ? " said Houlahan, wonderingly. 

" Yes, Kennedy. Didn't you meet him on the road ? 
He was at my station the day before yesterday." 

To his astonishment Houlahan learned that his fellow- 
trooper had changed his plans and ridden round that way. 
The tracks they had passed were those of his three horses 
cutting across Houlahan 's own trail. Jacky had identified 



them exactly. If further corroboration were needed it was 
supplied by Trooper Kennedy himself when he and Houlahan 
met a few weeks later. 

To accompany a black tracker on one of his trips is a 
liberal education. It can be safely recommended to any 
scout man or boy as the most perfect object lesson he can 
receive. It is the last word in the science of observation 
and deduction. The tracker rides along at an easy pace, 
following the signs with a rapidity which would baffle any 
but an expert bushman. He only dismounts when a 
knotty problem presents itself and it is desirous to take a 
look at the tracks from another position. Then he will 
view them from an acute angle with the light falling upon 
them, so that each significant detail is brought out. The 
moment he has satisfied himself he is up in the saddle again 
and off at a jog-trot, his eyes keenly scanning the trail before 
him. While thus engaged he rarely speaks. Every sense is 
alert and strained to the full. There is nothing that escapes 
his gaze ; the rough bush track and its surroundings is an 
open book to him. 

You never lose your admiration for a tracker's wonderful 
skill, though the performance may be no new thing to you. 
Mr. E. B. Kennedy bears witness to this. It was always a 
day of keen excitement for him when he was out on duty 
with his Queensland " boys." Once it was to search for a 
" j acker oo," a new chum, who had got " bushed " in the 
country inland from Rockhampton. He took a couple of 
native troopers, the steadiest and smartest of his little force, 
and proceeded to the house of the squatter for whom the 
lost one had been working. Here they spent the night, 
intending to commence operations at an early hour the 
following morning. 



" By daylight next day the * boys' had brought up the 
horse of the missing man, and having taken a good look at his 
shoes they turned him loose again. Then (with a supply 
of brandy and milk) we rode away, after having the direction 
pointed out at which the riderless horse was found grazing. 
This spot proved to be some five miles distant, and the 
' boys ' upon reaching it picked up the back tracks of the 
animal. Holding to this, though other shod horses had 
crossed the trail, we found that it had come at a gallop from 
a belt of forest which was visible on the far side of a great 
plain. The ' boys ' galloped along the tracks, steadied 
down after entering the gum-trees, and then proceeded 
cautiously, having to make a small cast now and then, so 
faint were the signs, even to them, on the hard ground under 
the timber. Not a word was uttered by them whilst puzzling 
out the hoofmarks, but I was conscious of a subdued excite- 
ment as I watched their actions. 

" At length, after many tortuous windings, during which 
the homeward-bound horse had walked, we came to where 
he had galloped out of a clearing in the forest. This had 
been caused, in days gone by, by a cyclone or whirlwind 
wrecking some of the great trees. At this spot the two 
troopers pointed out something to each other, and then got 
off their horses. I did likewise, feeling that some special 
discovery had been made. One ' boy ' held the three horses ; 
the other walked on and pointed out to me, evidently con- 
sidering that I ought to understand his hieroglyphics, that 
here the white man was thrown, there he had picked himself 
up and run after the horse, when failing to catch it he had 
sat down on that log and smoked ; and, sure enough, what I 
did see was a half -burnt wax match at the spot indicated. 
As we looked back from this point, I noticed that the 



forest was very dark and thick, and it was doubtless owing 
to this fact that the dismounted rider had not been able to 
see which way the horse had taken ; for after a few irresolute 
turnings he had proceeded in quite a contrary direction. 
This, it may be mentioned, was the first fatal step which led 
to his undoing. 

" And now the ' boys ' followed his tracks on foot, leading 
their horses. This course was inevitable, but seemed to 
me terribly slow work, considering that every moment was 
precious. On for many weary miles we went, till at length 
the trackers said we should not get him that night, but 
that as he was * walking strong ' he would most likely pull 
through if he found water so far we had seen no signs of 
this. Seeing that the trail bore rather to the right of our 
position, I ventured to ask whether it would not lead even- 
tually to the running stream, which I knew was somewhere 
out there. 

" ' Bel, marmy ' (no, master), they answered with a 
pitying smile, as they pointed out a line of mountains in quite 
another part of the country, which they averred dominated 
that sparkling brook ; and then, as if interpreting my own 
thoughts, informed me that we must find water for ourselves 
and horses before long, preparatory to forming a camp for 
the night. One of them then ascended a tall tree to its very 
top, and, having apparently thus taken in the lie of the 
country, descended, and with his tomahawk blazed the trunk 
all round. Then, quitting the trail, he mounted his horse 
and rode off at a tangent, merely remarking as he pointed 
with his chin (the customary gesture), * I believe water sit 
down there.' We had been suffering from thirst for some 
time now, and, like most ^men under similar conditions, 
glad thoughts arose in my mind of bubbling springs and 



cool water affording unlimited ( drinks ' of the life-giving 

" Alas, for the reality ! We came at last to a deep defile 
in the forest, and having with some trouble ridden the horses 
down its steep banks, the dry bed of a small creek presented 
itself. We followed this down in single file, when the lead- 
ing ' boy,' uttering an exclamation of disgust, threw himself 
from his horse, which I then saw was making frantic efforts 
to rush into a sort of scoop-out in the ravine. The others 
tried to follow suit, and we had difficulty in restraining the 
poor beasts, who had smelt water. And what a miserable 
puddle it was ! The quick eye of the ' boy ' had seen that 
any one of our steeds would have drunk most of it up and 
rendered the residue undrinkable by stirring up the mud. So 
he saved the situation by his warning. It took two of us 
all our time to hold the animals, whilst the third man care- 
fully dipped out about a gallon of the precious liquid with a 
pint pot, pouring it into our largest billy. In spite of its 
being warm, and spiced with gum-leaf juice, the drink all 
round proved most refreshing, and we were able to smoke 
again. After filling the can once more for a big brew of tea, 
we waited sufficiently long for the small hole to fill up, and at 
last partially watered the horses by means of an india-rubber 
basin we had with us. They were then hobbled out, and as 
the dew fell copiously that night, and there was a fair 
amount of herbage, they proved pretty fit by the next 

" There was little more than a pint of muddy water left 
in the hole when we looked into it at sunrise the next day, 
so the source had evidently stopped running. Now I 
wondered, as we prepared to mount after our night's rest, 
whether the trackers would make a cast, and so hit off the 



trail, or return to the blazed tree. They chose the latter 
course, doubtless for some good reason known to themselves, 
and picked up the footsteps at once. Shortly after we had 
made this fresh start the course of the wanderer proved 
most erratic, circling around the belts of timber to the right, 
again to the left, without either aim or object. It was 
evident that the man we were hunting had no compass with 
him ; further, that he was becoming wildly bewildered. 
We followed the errant footmarks thus for some two hours, 
when they suddenly took a straight course, and looking 
ahead the troopers pointed out a fringe of dark-leaved trees, 
which, as I knew of old, denoted the channel of a water- 
course, and this it proved to be, but utterly dried up. Into 
this the feet of the exhausted man had taken him, and in it 
his hands had scraped deeply in the sand, but to no purpose, 
and we knew now that he had not met with water during the 
whole of his lonely wanderings." 

But the hapless " jackeroo " was not far off. The blacks 
ran his tracks down the sandy bed and presently returned 
to announce : " That fellow sit down there, that fellow 
bong (dead)." A native dislikes handling the corpse of a 
white man, and the two boys left Mr. Kennedy to inspect 
the body by himself. Fortunately the trackers' surmise 
proved incorrect ; the poor fellow was not " bong " but 
11 budgery " (all right), in the sense that he was still alive. 
He was in a pitiable condition through lack of food and 
drink, and it took some time before he was sufficiently 
restored to be able to walk any distance. However, the 
party returned him safely to his home, where he picked up 
strength again within a few weeks. 

The above experience conveys to us a clear idea of a 
black tracker's methods in following a trail, at the same 



time that it gives us an illustration of the noble work per- 
formed by the mounted police. No one is ever more ready 
than the trooper to set out in search of a person lost in the 
bush ; no one is more indefatigable in his efforts. It is in 
the country, in the back-blocks, that the police receive 
their due meed of appreciation. Your townsman, safe 
within his sheltered, well-ordered streets, is too apt to regard 
the trooper with indifference. He sees that worthy at parades 
and on show days, in all the glory of full dress white 
helmet, Bedford cord riding breeches, polished high boots, 
and dangling sword and if his eye is pleased with the 
spectacle that is probably all. Many of us will do well to 
remember that there are two sides to the picture. 

Yet another remarkable display of tracking that is on 
record occurred in South Africa, at the time of the late Boer 
War. With one of the Australian contingents was a native 
tracker named Billy. In an officers' mess one evening the 
subject of scouting came up for discussion, and when an 
Australian who was present sang the praises of the aboriginal 
there was a chorus of disbelief. He was accused of " blow- 
ing." With all due respect to the black's ability one couldn't 
be expected to swallow fairy tales ! 

" Very good," said the Australian. " Perhaps you'll 
believe your own eyes. I'll bet you fellows that our man 
Billy will track any of you wherever you like to go, and that 
he will bring back a correct report of your doings." 

The wager was snapped up promptly, and a day was 
appointed for the test. It was arranged that five British 
officers should start, at different times and in different 
directions, two of them being on foot and three on horseback. 
Billy, of course, was not to see where they went. 

This programme was carried out, and the tracker was 


placed at the starting-point after a proper interval had 
elapsed. He quickly picked up a track and followed it for a 
stated time, doing the same with the four other tracks, so 
that all were covered well before dark. Then he returned 
to tell his story to the expectant officers, the five whom he 
had tracked producing their note-books to check the details. 

" The tracker," says Mr. E. B. Kennedy, who is again our 
authority, " first stating that the men had chosen their 
various routes over all the hard and rocky ground of the 
neighbouring veldt, then proceeded to draw five lines in the 
sand, and descanted on each track. Those of the mounted 
men he had followed at a run. He described how one had 
got off his horse and had then lit his pipe, producing the 
half -burnt match to prove it. Another had been thrown 
by his mount putting its foot into a hole whilst going at a 
canter ; the horse had then bolted, and the rider had 
caught it within a mile. The third had got off his horse and 
walked into the shade of some trees, and having tied up his 
charger had climbed one of these, presumably to get a view, 
as there was neither 'possum nor ' sugar-bag ' in it, said Billy. 

" The footmen had given a little more trouble, especially 
one man whom the ' boy ' described as * silly fellow ' be- 
cause he had gone in his socks, had cut his foot at one point, 
and gone lame for the rest of his journey ; a piece of fluff 
from a sock was brought back as one proof, whilst the officer 
allowed the accident to his foot to be true. Dark brown, 
light brown, and grey hairs represented the three horses. 
In fact, Billy proved beyond doubt that he had run and read 
every track faithfully, by recording many other minute 
finds and incidents. 

" The officers were thoroughly convinced, and willingly 
handed over their bets to the Australian." 



For what remuneration, it may be asked, does the intelli- 
gent aboriginal offer his services ? Generally speaking there 
is no fixed sum. The trackers who were summoned from 
Queensland to aid the Victorian police in the hunt after the 
Kellys, were paid 3 a month each, with uniform, quarters, 
and rations ! This was a special rate. Present day trackers 
such as " Paddy " and " Leo," who are on the South Aus- 
tralian police staff, or the two natives in the Victorian force, 
stationed at the stud depot at Dandenong, will receive 
a regular salary. Others who are engaged by individual 
troopers, as occasion requires, make their bargain indepen- 
dently. Sometimes the pay is made in cash, sometimes 
in cash and goods. In former years, when the police pay 
was not so high as it is at the present time, the average 
allowance for the keep of a native tracker was 2s. a day. 
Out of this sum there were flour, sugar and tobacco to be 
bought. " Black tobacco " (the only kind then procurable) 
cost 7. per pound, twenty-four sticks going to the weight. 
In winter, with molasses mixed with it, the tobacco made 
eighteen sticks. As the trooper, further, had to clothe his 
assistant, with shirts at Ss. each, moleskin trousers at 
10s. and boots from 12s to 15s. a pair, to say nothing of 
hats, there was not much margin for luxuries. 

In those days, however, a native was more easily satis- 
fied. If he returned to his camp with a little money and 
various useful presents he was a comparatively rich man. 
Nowadays the black tracker has come to understand his 
value, and is ready to insist that the labourer is worthy of his 


i. " LF.O." 2. " PADDY " (profile and full face). 



Entering the force Preliminary tests At the police dep6t A day's 
routine The riding school Drill " First' Aid " Class work 
End of probation Practical education Manifold duties Com- 
pensations A long journey " Hatters " The lighter side Wanted 
a divorce A Queensland episode Summing up. ^ 

T T 7~E have followed the mounted policeman through his 
* V varied career in the several States of the Common- 
wealth ; we have watched him at work in many capacities, 
in town and country, on goldfield and pearling ground, in 
bush and scrub, north, south, east and west. We have 
accompanied him through the stirring pioneering days, 
seen him pitted against bushranger, cattle-thief and savage 
black, and seen him, too, come through the ordeal bravely 
and well. It may now be asked, what manner of man is 
the trooper of the present day, and how is he trained for the 
duties that he has to perform ? 

Some little insight has been given already into the mode 
of entrance into one or more of the police services. To 
properly comprehend, however, the nature of a trooper's 
schooling and his evolution from the raw product into the 
finished article, we cannot do better than follow a recruit 
through his various stages. No particular force need 
be stated ; except in a few minor details the methods of 
training are alike in all. 

401 DD 


The applicant for a post as mounted constable in the first 
place receives a form which he is required to fill up. This 
gives the necessary qualifications of candidates and includes 
a list of questions bearing on character, past record, and other 
important points. 1 Assuming that his application has been 
accepted our would-be trooper policeman presents himself 
at the headquarters office, where his measurements are taken, 
to ensure his being up to the requisite standard. The next 
step is personal inspection by the Commissioner. The chief 
puts the candidate through a cross-examination, checking 
the replies by the papers before him, and satisfies himself 
that the other is the right type of man. There are then three 
more tests to be passed, educational, riding and medical. 
The first of these is not severe ; it is to horsemanship that 
most attention is paid, to good hands and an easy seat in the 
saddle. The practised eye of the riding-instructor quickly 
sums up a man's capabilities. 

Having passed these preliminary tests, and there being a 
vacancy in the force, the candidate is sent to the police 
depot to enter upon his probationary period. Here he is 
provided with his kit and equipment, with helmet, cap, 
tunic, riding breeches, boots, leggings, spurs, gloves, button 
brushes, etc., and saddlery. At the stables he is allotted a 
horse, which he will himself groom and otherwise look 
after. In the course of the next day or two he has explained 
to him the mysteries of putting a kit together, bedding down 
a horse, burnishing a sword, and generally cleaning his 
accoutrements. Everything must be " just so " in this 
respect, as spick and span as in a first-class line regiment. 
The slacker will pay dearly for slovenliness. 

On the morning after his arrival at the depot the recruit 

1 See Appendix E. 


has his first taste of routine life. Here is one day's pro- 
gramme, as followed in an eastern state's police force : 

5.45 a.m. Rise ; fold up bed and bedding. 

6.0. Stables ; clean out stables, stack up clean bedding 
and water horse. 

7.0 to 7.30. Clean and feed horse, and get kit and 
stable ready for inspection. 

9.30. Parade for inspection. Afterwards stand by 
bed while beds and barrack rooms are inspected by officer in 

10.0. Parade on drill ground for dismounted drill, 
with carbine or sword. 

10.30. Riding school. Afterwards take off saddlery, 
clean it and water horse. 

12.0 a.m. Prepare forage for next twenty-four hours. 
Nose-bags to be filled up with proper proportions of rations, 
and horses fed. 

2.0.p.m. Parade for an hour's drill (dismounted). 

3.0 to 5.0. Thoroughly clean kit, groom horse and have 
it ready for inspection. 

5.0. Water and feed horse and bed it down for the 
night and leave stable clean. 

Every recruit takes turn of duty as stable guard from 
6.0 a.m. to 6.0 p.m., the relieving guard going on duty from 
6.30 to 9.30 p.m., and the night guard from 9-30 p.m. to 
6.0 a.m. At 9.30 p.m., unless on guard or on leave, he must 
stand by his bed at roll-call. 

In the riding school during the first three weeks the 
recruit dispenses with stirrups. He advances to these and 
spurs as he progresses. Particular attention is paid to the 
control of the horse, the average rider, be he ever so good a 
bushman, using his hands more than his legs. Apart from 



exercise in trotting, galloping and other movements the new 
hand is taught how to fit his saddlery correctly, how to apply 
the proper aids in controlling his mount, and further, how 
to shoe it and tend to it as he will have to do in the course of 
duty when a full-fledged trooper. 

The drill (mounted) includes cavalry sword exercise, 
pursuing practice, manual and firing exercise, and mounting 
and dismounting with carbine. There is also revolver 
practice both in and out of the saddle. For improvement in 
marksmanship the novice undergoes a course of instruction 
at the butts. The physical drill is a part of the training 
which is carefully supervised in every police force. A depot 
barracks is provided with an up-to-date, well-equipped 
gymnasium under the charge of a competent instructor, and 
herein the men are daily exercised. The useful art of ju- 
jitsu, of late years, has been taken up by the police, and it 
bids fair to become a general accomplishment. 
I A Swimming being an essential qualification of a trooper 
policeman it follows that he must receive instruction in life- 
saving. In some services the men are encouraged to attend 
ambulance classes and to learn " first aid," but this is not 
yet compulsory. That it should be so has been urged 
strongly, and in view of the isolated life led by many troopers 
in the back-blocks such knowledge would be of the utmost 
value. In this connection it may be noted that the West 
Australian force makes a special feature of this class of work. 
One of its members, Sergeant Smith, now stationed at the 
Perth headquarter barracks, has been recently awarded the 
Distinguished Service Medal by the Royal Life-Saving 

On the educational side the young recruit's training is 
quite as thorough. There are lectures on police rules and 



discipline to be attended, lectures and demonstrations on 
the system of taking finger-prints, and lectures on the various 
statutes affecting the force. By attending police courts he 
learns how evidence should, and should not, be given, and 
by preparing papers on imaginary examples he studies the 
art of presenting a case in correct official form. The clerical 
work that falls to a mounted constable is no small part of his 
duty. Reference has been made more than once to the 
assistance that the police afford various Government depart- 
ments in the accumulation of statistics and general informa- 
tion. Our probationer, therefore, must be equal to making 
out careful, detailed returns on agricultural, pastoral, 
mining and other industries. There is no knowing what a 
trooper may be asked to report upon : he is one of the first 
people to whom a department turns when it requires facts 
and figures on some special subject. 

We will say that the would-be mounted policeman has 
successfully survived his probationary period of twelve 
months. He is now ready^to be drafted to a country district, 
to be broken in to the actual life of a trooper. So far as he 
knows, he is well primed for his duties ; he has the Parlia- 
mentary Acts at his fingers'ends and a very proper confidence 
in his own ability to interpret the law. There comes now 
the commencement of an education a practical education 
that will set the seal upon his training. His experience 
may be said to justify the old card-playing dictum that 
" whist begins where Cavendish leaves off." He finds that 
the unexpected is always happening and that he is con- 
stantly being confronted with the unprecedented. Here 
comes the opportunity for him to display those qualities of 
judgment, decision and tact which are absolutely essential 
to his success. He must learn to think and act quickly, 



to be lenient or severe as occasion demands even to shut his 
eyes to a breach of the law, maybe. His position, particu- 
larly if he is the only constable in his district, is an onerous 
one, for to him everybody will come when difficulties arise. 
Life in a small, scattered settlement is made up of small 
things. There will be much to try his temper and test his 

Above all things, the trooper policeman must be " a 
whale for work." He is the only public servant the 
only working man, indeed in Australia for whom there is 
no eight-hours day. His work begins at any time and it 
ends similarly, if it ever does end. From a week's trip after 
a horse-thief or a black raider he returns to his office to find 
a heap of letters awaiting replies. " Mr. So-and-So of the 
Public Lands Department desires Mounted Constable John 
Mulcahy, Reg. No. 0126, to furnish him with particulars 
as to the number of acres cleared for cultivation in his 
district during the past twelve months." Mr. Blank, of 
another branch, asks for information with regard to bee- 
keeping. An Hon. Member has raised a question in the 
House and statistics must be prepared in readiness. 

And so it goes on. There are a hundred and one things 
calling for attention. One day it is pen and ink work, 
another he is in the saddle again to help in putting out a 
bush fire, or in rounding up a lost horse. Let no prospec- 
tive mounted constable think that it is going to be " all gas 
and gaiters " for him when he has donned the smart-looking 
uniform and goes riding out with sword and carbine in the 
glory of full dress. There are plenty to envy him, perhaps, 
but they mainly see the smooth side to his life. 

Yet, with all its hard work and trials, a trooper police- 
man's lot has its attractions and compensations. There is 



an undeniable status conferred by the position. In his 
own circle he is a very important personage ; and if he makes 
many enemies among a certain class, he makes many friends 
elsewhere. There is always a welcome for him at a squatter's 
station, and bush hospitality in Australia is proverbial. 
Then there is the freedom of the life when patrolling has to 
be done ; the long rides through the bush with one or two 
native trackers for company, and the opportunities for sport 
of varied kind. In up-country districts wild-fowl are plenti- 
ful. The camp meal is often to be provided by the gun. 
When the feeling of loneliness that is apt to seize upon a 
man has worn off, and he comes under the spell of the bush, 
a trooper policeman finds the harness sitting lightly upon 
him. There is something in the country that catches him, 
something that is satisfying to his life, and he can shrug 
his shoulders at the cares of office. 

" I look back," said one ex- trooper, " to the years I 
spent in the bush and wish I had them to live over again. 
There was plenty of hard work, real tough jobs at times, and 
a fair share of nasty work ; but it was a life for a man ! 
You don't take kindly to the city after you've been hi the 
wilds for long. Streets and houses seem to cramp you. And 
the comradeship you enjoy, the scores of good fellows you 
meet, the spice of excitement at times, the hard ride by day 
and the camp-fire with its yarns at night they're not easily 
forgotten, I tell you. ' Oh ! the hardest day was never 
then too hard ! ' Gordon knew all about it, for he had been 
a trooper himself. I served a rough apprenticeship in my 
first few years of service, and I had my bad times after that, 
but one looks back upon them easily in the end. Get a dozen 
' old hands ' together and set them yarning of the days 
' out back.' You'll see then what I mean." 



Touching the variety of duties that fall to a mounted 
policeman's lot only a few have been mentioned. He ex- 
hibits his usefulness to the State in so many ways that it is 
difficult to enumerate them all. An important work he 
frequently undertakes is the care of indigent blacks, to whom 
he serves out blankets and other necessaries. Of the detec- 
tion of native criminals enough has been said in previous 
chapters, but it is not always recognized how great is the 
distance that a constable may have to travel in the execution 
of his duty. In one case that came under the writer's 
observation a trooper had the following experience. 

An aboriginal murder had been committed in the 
Murchison country, W.A. With three native witnesses 
the officer proceeded under orders to Carnarvon, which he 
reached only to find that the offender had escaped. He was 
then instructed to take the witnesses back to the Mt. 
Wittenoom Station and remain there for orders. Eleven 
hundred miles had now been covered. The next move was 
to Geraldton, 210 miles distant ; thence he returned to Mt. 
Wittenoom, and thence, again, to Moorarie, this last a 200 
miles' journey. In all over 1,700 miles were covered, and 
the blacks walked all the way ! The time occupied was 
from the end of June to the end of the following January. 
This is an extraordinary instance, perhaps, but Aus- 
tralia is a country of immense distances, and a trip of many 
hundreds of miles may be a trooper's experience at any time. 
An unpleasant form of duty is the bringing in of lunatics 
from outlying parts, though, happily, this does not occur 
frequently. If it is in the hot weather and the plains 
have to be crossed, the scarcity of water adds greatly to the 
hardships of the journey. The " hatters," as the patients 
are commonly known, are the bane of the country police- 



man's life when they break loose. The news that one is 
abroad in the bush in a state of nudity generally means 
that his capture will only be effected after a long, tiresome 
chase in the teeth of a stifling hot wind. 

Of the lighter side of his life the police trooper is much 
more ready to speak, and often his experiences are quaint. 
As registrar of marriages, for instance, he has been called 
upon to " tie the knot " for many a happy couple who were 
out of reach of a clergyman, and once at least he was peti- 
tioned to pronounce a divorce. Trooper Donegan was the 
officer in the case, that same Donegan who was representa- 
tive of the law in the Northern Territory, as has been told. 
The parties to the suit were an illicit grog-seller, whose 
shanty had been destroyed by the police, and his wife. 

As Mr. Searcey narrates the story, soon after the raid 
Donegan, who was a J.P. among other things, received a 
visit from the two relative to divorce proceedings. The lady ? 
he learned, desired to get rid of her husband, having a second 
mate in mind, and was prepared to pay handsomely, cash 
down, for the deliverance. 

" Can't be done," said Donegan curtly. " It's out of my 

"Then if you won't doit," she retorted, " I'll shoot him ! " 

And finding the trooper still obdurate, Mrs. Shantyman 
was as good as her word, for withdrawing from the office, she 
" drew a bead " on her spouse and was peppering him hotly 
when the law interfered. She then entrenched herself in a 
store-room which had to be carried by force of arms, but her 
arrest was followed by an acquittal. What further proceed- 
ings, legal or otherwise, she took is not recorded. 

Even an ordinary criminal case may have an accidental 
Jight touch in it. There was an interlude in the arresting 



of a noted Queensland horse-thief some years ago, which was 
not strictly in order. The prisoner was one Caldwell who 
was taken asleep in his camp in the bush, where a police 
officer had recognized him as an old offender badly "wanted" 
on several charges. Caldwell, by the way, was a desperate 
character and during the journey down to Mackay made a 
fierce attack on his captor in the hope of escaping. The 
officer took the rough and tumble in good part. At the 
next stopping-place, on the Bowen River, the two entered a 
public-house, and here met a drover who bore a grudge 
against Caldwell. This man was highly pleased to see his 
enemy with the handcuffs on, and commenced gibing him. 

The horse-thief writhed under the other's taunts. He 
was powerless to retaliate. " The filthy blackguard ! " he 
said ; "he wouldn't dare stand up to me if I had my hands 
free ! Let me have a go at him, sergeant, won't you ? I'll 
act straight, I swear ! " 

The officer hesitated and was lost. His sympathies 
were aroused. The handcuffs were unlocked and Caldwell 
turned up his sleeves. It was a pretty fight, for the drover 
was no novice, but Caldwell whipped him till he couldn't 
stand. Then the victor put out his hands for the " bracelets " 
again, and the journey was resumed. Probably the memory 
of that ten minutes helped to sweeten the ten years' term 
which he subsequently served. 

To sum up, the police trooper of Australia, regarded from 
all points of view, is well worthy of the high praise that 
has been bestowed upon him. As the " handy man " of his 
country he occupies a unique position. Almost the only 
fault he has is that he is too willing to take a heavy burden 
on his back and do work that should fall to others. One 
critic has pointed out that " by indefinitely multiplying the 



duties of police officers a twofold risk is run that of render- 
ing the work so complex that men of average talent and 
education will be unable to perform it thoroughly, and that 
of undermining the popularity of the force by exhibiting its 
members before the eyes of the people as universally inter- 
fering and censorious." There is food for reflection in this. 
Every chief of police in the seven States will subscribe to 
the utterance. For the present, however, the mounted 
policeman cheerfully continues to carry out his manifold 
duties and in their performance he has the satisfactory 
knowledge that he is no mean factor in the development of 
the Commonwealth. 





AUGUST 1786 

HEADS OF A PLAN for effectually disposing of convicts, and 
rendering their transportation reciprocally beneficial, both to 
themselves and to the State, by the establishment of a colony 
in New South Wales, a country which, by the fertility and salu- 
brity of the climate, connected with the remoteness of its situ- 
ation (from whence it is hardly possible for persons to return 
without permission), seems peculiarly adapted to answer the 
views of Government with respect to the providing a remedy 
for the evils likely to result from the late alarming and numer- 
ous increase of felons in this country and more particularly in 
the metropolis. 

"It is proposed that a ship of war of a proper class, with a 
part of her guns mounted and a sufficient number of men on 
board for her navigation and a tender of about 200 tons burthen, 
commanded by discreet officers, should be got ready as soon as 
possible to serve as an escort to the convict ships, and for other 
purposes hereinafter mentioned. 

" That in addition to their crews, they should take on board 
two companies of marines to form a military establishment on 
shore (not only for the protection of the settlement, if requisite, 
against the natives, but for the preservation of good order, 
together with an assortment of stores, utensils, and implements, 
necessary for erecting habitations and for agriculture, and such 
quantities of provisions as may be proper for the use of the 
crews. As many marines as possible should be artificers, such as 
carpenters, sawyers, smiths, potters (if possible), and some hus- 



bandmen. To have a chaplain on board, with a surgeon, and one 
mate at least ; the former to remain at the settlement. 

" That these vessels should touch at the Cape of Good Hope, 
or any other place that may be convenient, for any seed that 
may be requisite to be taken thence, and for such live stock as 
they can possibly contain, which, it is supposed, can be procured 
there without any difficulty, and at the most reasonable rates, 
for the use of the settlement at large. 

" That Government should immediately provide a certain 
number of ships of a proper burthen to receive on board at least 
seven or eight hundred convicts, and that one of them should be 
properly fitted for the accommodation of the women. 

" That these ships should take on board as much provisions 
as they can possibly stow, or at least a sufficient quantity for 
two years' consumption ; supposing one year to be issued at 
whole allowance, and the other year's provisions at half allow- 
ance, which will last two years longer, by which time it is pre- 
sumed the colony, with the live stock and grain which may be 
raised by a common industry on the part of the new settlers, will 
be fully sufficient for their maintenance and support. 

" That, in addition to the crews of the ships appointed to 
contain the convicts, a company of marines should be divided 
between them, to be employed as guards for preventing ill conse- 
quences that might arise from dissatisfaction amongst the con- 
victs, and for the protection of the crew in the navigation ot 
the ship from insults that might be offered by the convicts. 

" That each ship should have on board at least two surgeons' 
mates to attend to the wants of the sick, and should be supplied 
with a proper assortment of medicines and instruments, and that 
two of them should remain with the settlement. 

" After the arrival of the ships which are intended to convey 
the convicts the ship of war and tender may be employed in 
obtaining live stock from the Cape, or from the Molucca Islands, 
a sufficient quantity of which may be brought from either of those 
places to the new settlement, in two or three trips ; or the tender, 
if it should be thought most advisable, may be employed in con- 
veying to the new settlement a further number of women from 
the Friendly Islands, New Caledonia, etc., which are contiguous 
thereto, and from whence any number may be procured without 

" The whole regulation and management of the settlement 


should be committed to the care of a discreet officer, and pro- 
vision should be made in all cases, both civil and military, by 
special instructions under the Great Seal or otherwise, as may 
be thought proper. 

" Upon the whole, it may be observed with great force and 
truth that the difference of expense (whatever method of carry- 
ing the convicts thither may be adopted), and this mode of dis- 
posing of them and that of the usual ineffectual one is too trivial 
to be a consideration with Government, at least in comparison 
with the great object to be obtained by it, especially now the evil 
is increased to such an alarming degree, from the inadequacy of 
all other expedients that have hitherto been tried or suggested. 

" It may not be amiss to remark in favour of this plan that 
considerable advantage will arise from the cultivation of the New 
Zealand hemp or flax-plant in the new intended settlement, the 
supply of which would be of great consequence to us as a naval 
power, as our manufacturers are of opinion that canvas made of 
it would be superior in strength and beauty to any canvas made 
of the European material, and that a cable of the circumference 
of ten inches made from the former would be superior in strength 
to one of eighteen inches made of the latter. The threads or 
filaments of this New Zealand plant are formed by Nature with 
the most exquisite delicacy, and may be so minutely divided as 
to be manufactured into the finest linens. 

" Most of the Asiatic productions may also, without doubt, 
be cultivated in the new settlement, and in a few years may 
render our recourse to our European neighbours for those pro- 
ductions unnecessary. 

" It may also be proper to attend to the possibility of procuring 
from New Zealand any quantity of masts and ship timber for the 
use of our fleets in India, as the distance between the two countries 
is not greater than between Great Britain and America. It grows 
close to the water's edge, is of size and quality superior to any 
hitherto known, and may be obtained without difficulty." 





" KNOW all persons that we, three brothers, Jagajaga, Jagajaga, 
Jagajaga, being the three principal chiefs, and also Cooloolock, 
Bungarie, Yanyan, Moowhip, Monmarmalar, being the chiefs of 
a certain native tribe called Dutigallar, situate at and near Port 
Phillip, called by us, the above-mentioned chiefs, Irausnoo and 
Geelong, being possessed of the tract of land hereinafter men- 
tioned, for and in consideration of twenty pair of blankets, thirty 
knives, twelve tomahawks, ten looking-glasses, twelve pair of 
scissors, fifty handkerchiefs, twelve red shirts, four flannel jackets, 
four suits of clothes, and 50 Ibs. of flour, delivered to us by John 
Batman, residing in Van Diemen's Land, Esquire, but at present 
sojourning with us and our tribe, do, for ourselves, our heirs, and 
successors, give, grant, enfeoff, and confirm unto the said John 
Batman, his heirs and assigns, all that tract of country situate and 
being in the bay of Port Phillip, known by the name of Indented 
Head, but called by us Geelong, extending across from Geelong 
Harbour about due south for 10 miles, more or less, to the head 
of Port Phillip, taking in the whole neck or tract of land contain- 
ing about 100,000 acres, as the same hath been before the execu- 
tion of these presents delineated and marked out by us, according 
to the custom of our tribe, by certain marks made upon the trees 
growing along the boundaries of the said tract of land, with all 
advantages belonging thereto, unto and to the use of the said 
John Batman, his heirs, said tract of land, and place thereon, 
sheep and cattle, yielding and delivering to us and assigns, to 
the meaning and intent that the said John Batman his heirs and 
assigns, may occupy and possess the same, and our heirs and 
successors the yearly rent or tribute of fifty pair of blankets, 
fifty knives, fifty tomahawks, fifty pair of scissors, fifty looking- 
glasses, twenty suits of slops or clothing, and two tons of flour. 
In witness thereof, we Jagajaga, Jagajaga, Jagajaga, the three 
principal chiefs, and also Cooloolock, Bungarie, Yanyan, Moowhip, 
and Monmarmalar, the chiefs of the said tribe, have hereunto 
affixed our seals to these presents, and have signed the same. 



Dated, according to the Christian era, this 6th day of June, 1835. 
Signed, sealed and delivered in the presence of us, the same 
having been fully and properly interpreted and explained to the 
said chiefs. 

"(Signed) JAGAJAGA, his X mark. 
JAGAJAGA, his x mark. 
JAGAJAGA, his x mark. 
COOLOOLOCK, his x mark. 
BUNGABIE, his X mark. 
YANYAN, his x mark. 
MONMABMALAB, his X mark. 

"Be it remembered that on the day and year within written, 
possession and delivery of the tract of land within mentioned 
was made by the within-named Jagajaga, Jagajaga, Jagajaga, 
Cooloolock, Bungarie, Yanyan, Moowhip, Monmarmalar, chiefs 
of the tribes of natives called Dutigallar-Geelong, to the within- 
named John Batman, by the said chiefs, taking up part of the 
soil, and delivering the same to the said John Batman, in the 
name of the whole. 





In presence of JAMES GUMM. 



A second deed recorded the transfer of the other and larger 
area of land, as follows : 

"Know all persons that we, three brothers, Jagajaga, Jagajaga, 
Jagajaga, being the principal chiefs, and also Cooloolock, Bun- 
garie, Yanyan, Moowhip, and Monmarmalar, also being the 
chiefs of a certain native tribe called Dutigallar, situate at and 
near Port Phillip, called by us, the above-mentioned chiefs, 
Tramoo, being possessed of the tract of land hereinafter mentioned 
for, and in consideration of twenty pair blankets, thirty toma- 
hawks, one hundred knives, fifty pair of scissors, thirty looking- 
glasses, two hundred handkerchiefs, and one hundred pounds of 
flour, and six shirts, delivered to us by John Batman, residing 

417 EE 


in Van Diemen's Land, Esquire, but at present sojourning with us 
and our tribe, do, for ourselves, our heirs, and successors, give, 
grant, enfeoff, and confirm unto the said John Batman, his heirs 
and assigns, all that tract of country situate and being in Port 
Phillip, running from the branch of the river at the top of the 
port, about 7 miles from the mouth of the river, 40 miles north- 
east, and from thence west 40 miles across Tramoo downs or 
plains, and from thence south-south-west across Mount Vilumarn- 
atar to Geelong Harbour, at the head of the same, and containing 
about 500,000, more or less, acres. 

(Signed, as above.)" 


(II GEOEGE IV, No. 10.) 

1. Whereas crimes of robbery and housebreaking have in- 
creased to an alarming degree, and it is becoming necessary to 
restrain the same, as much as possible by temporary provisions, 
suited to the emergency of the occason. Be it therefore enacted 
that it shall be lawful for any person whatsoever, having reason- 
able cause to suspect and believe any other person to be a trans- 
ported felon, unlawfully at large, immediately himself or with the 
assistance of other persons, and without a warrant for such pur- 
pose, to apprehend, or cause to be apprehended, every such sus- 
pected person, and to take him, or cause to be taken, before any 
Justice of the Peace for the colony for examination as hereinafter 

2. Every suspected person taken before a Justice of the Peace 
shall be obliged to prove, to the reasonable satisfaction of such 
Justice that he is not a felon under sentence of transportation, and 
in default of such proof such justices may cause such person to 
be detained in safe custody until he can be proved whether he is a 
transported felon or free ; and in every such case the proof of being 
free shall be upon the person alleging himself to be free. Provided 
always that every Justice of the Peace may, at his discretion, 


cause every such suspected person to be securely removed to 
Sydney to be there examined, and dealt with in like manner as 

3. And be it therefore enacted that every person whatsoever 
who shall be found on the roads or in other parts of the colony, 
with firearms or other instruments of a violent nature in his 
possession, under the circumstances affording reasonable ground 
for suspecting that such person may be or intend to be a robber, 
every such suspected person shall be liable to be apprehended, 
and taken before a Justice of the Peace in like manner and be 
dealt with in all respects as hereinbefore provided ; and in every 
such case the proof that such firearms or other instruments of a 
violent nature were not intended for an illegal purpose shall be 
upon the person in whose possession the same shall be found. 

4. And be it therefore enacted that it shall be lawful for any 
person on having reasonable cause for suspicion and believing 
that any other person may have any firearms or other instrument 
of a deadly nature concealed about his person to search or cause 
to be searched every such suspicious person ; and in case of dis- 
covering any such firearms or instruments of a deadly nature 
apprehend or cause to be apprehended any such person and take 
before any Justice of the Peace to be dealt with. . . . 

5. And be it further enacted that it shall be lawful for any 
Justice of the Peace having credible information that any robbers 
or housebreakers are harboured in the country or district to grant 
a general search warrant to any one or more constables to search 
any dwelling house or tenement or other place within or reputed 
to be within such county or district ; and it shall be lawful for 
such constable in virtue of such general warrant to break, enter 
and search, by day or by night, any dwelling place, tenement or 
other place, and to apprehend every person whom such constable 
shall have reasonable cause for suspecting and believing to be a 
robber or housebreaker, and to seize and secure all firearms or 
other arms or instruments of a violent nature, and all goods and 
chattels which such constable shall have reasonable grounds for 
suspecting or believing to be stolen, and also to apprehend all 
persons found in or about any such dwelling house, etc., and all 
whom such constable shall have reasonable grounds for suspecting 
or believing to harbour or conceal any such robber or house- 
breaker ; and all persons, arms, chattels and goods so found, 
seized and apprehended shall by such constable be taken before a 



Justice of the Peace for examination, and to be further dealt 
with according to law. 

6. And whereas it is expected that robbers and house-breakers 
shall be tried and punished as speedily as may be consistent with 
the ends of Justice, be it therefore enacted that all persons who 
shall be fully committed for the crime of robbing or of entering, 
and plundering any dwelling house, with arms and violence, 
shall be brought to trial as speedily as possible, and being law- 
fully convicted and sentenced to suffer death, shall be executed 
according to law on the day next but two after sentence has been 
passed ; unless the same shall happen to be Sunday, and in that 
case, on the Monday following ; such sentence shall be passed 
immediately after the conviction of such offender, unless the 
Court or Jury shall see reasonable cause for postponing the same. 

7. And be it further enacted that every person who shall 
be found with firearms or other instruments of a violent nature 
in his possession, and shall not prove to the satisfaction of such 
Justice of the Peace that the same were or were not intended to 
be illegally used, shall be guilty of a high misdemeanour, and 
being lawfully convicted thereof, shall be liable at the discretion 
of the Court to be imprisoned for any term not exceeding three 


RANGERS FROM 1861 TO 1879 

SERGEANT MIDDLETON and Trooper Hosie, wounded in attempt 
to capture Frank Gardiner, July 1861. 

Detective Patrick Lyons, received gunshot wound in right 
hand while escorting prisoners between Forbes and Young ; was 
attacked by Davis and party; Davis was arrested, April 14, 

Senior-Constable Henry Moran, shot in the groin by Gardiner's 
gang, Eugowra Creek, when escorting gold, June 15, 1862. 

Constable Luke Cullen, while struggling with a prisoner pistol 
exploded, and was shot in leg, August 10, 1862. 



Constable Thomas Rayfield, wounded with pistol ball in 
side while attempting to arrest a horse dealer named Little 
Jemmy, November 10, 1862. 

Senior-Constable William Hughes, fired upon from ambush, 
received gunshot wound in arm, June 8, 1863. 

Senior-Constable Frederick Sutton, wounded by Gilbert 
when attempting to rob Carcoar mail, August 6, 1863. 

Senior-Sergeant James Stephenson, received gunshot wound 
in the hand in an encounter with bushranger Lowry, when latter 
was wounded and died following day, August 29, 1863. 

Senior-Constable Thomas Haughey, received gunshot wound 
in the knee in an encounter with armed offenders at Toodles' 
shanty, Demondrille Creek, September 4, 1863. 

Sergeant David M'Ginnerty, shot dead by Morgan near 
Tumberumba, June 24, 1864. 

Sergeant Thomas Smyth, shot while camping in his tent at 
night by Morgan, September 4, 1864 ; died September 29, 1864. 

Sergeant Edward Parry, shot dead by Gilbert, November 15, 

Constable Samuel Nelson, shot by Dunn at Collector, January 
26, 1865. 

Senior-Constable John Ward, died from a gunshot wound 
inflicted by a Chinaman between Mudgee and Coonabarabran, 
February 4, 1865. 

Constable William Wiles, received three gunshot wounds, two 
in hand and one in leg, in an encounter with Hall's gang at 
Byrnes', MutbiUy, February 24, 1865. 

Constable John Kelly, received bullet in the left breast in an 
attack by Hall and gang on Araluen gold-field, March 18, 1865. 

Constable Robert Keane, received gunshot wound in right 
shoulder in an encounter with bushrangers at Cunningar, March 
18, 1865. 

Constable Michael Bang, received gunshot in ankle in an 
encounter with armed offenders at Binalong, 1865. 

Senior-Constable J. R. Herbert, accidentally shot (afterwards 
died) in mistake for bushranger, April 13, 1865. 

Senior-Constable Willam Lang, wounded by pistol ball 
in the arm when attempting to arrest mail-robber, Carroll, 
December 10, 1865. 

Constable James McHale, wounded when effecting the capture 
of the outlaw Dunn, December 24, 1865. 



Constable Miles O'Grady, wounded when attempting to 
arrest armed robbers, April 9, 1866. 

Constable William Raymond shot by prisoner on escort, April 
14, 1866. 

Constable McCable, shot by offender Pearson at " Shearer's 
Inn," Bourke district, November 1, 1868. 

Sergeant Andrew Sutherland, shot by offender Grey, near 
Cowra, May 1, 1872. 

Constable Michael Costigan jShot at Bourke, September 11, 

Constable G. R. Armytage j 1877. 

Senior Sergeant Thomas Wallings shot dead at Wonbobbie, 
Macquarie River, by offender Gibson, September 20, 1878. 

Sergeant Michael Kennedy j Shot dead by Kelly gang at 
Constable Scanlan I Wombat Ranges, near Mans- 

Constable Lonergan J field, Victoria, October 26, 1878. 

Constable Power wounded in an encounter with four 
bushrangers near Balranald, 1879. 


THE age limits and standards of height, weight and measure- 
ment, vary slightly in the different States. In most cases parti- 
culars of these have been given in the chapters dealing with the 
constitution of each force. As representative of the general 
qualifications for entry the application form sent to would-be 
candidates for the New South Wales police force is appended : 



1. Age under thirty years. 

2. Candidates must undergo a medical examination. The standards 

for height, weight, and chest measurement are approximately 
as follows : 





Chest Measurement. 

5 feet 8 inches 
5 9 . . . . 

11 stone 
11 4 Ib. . 

38 inches 

6 L 10 ... 
5 11 ... 

11 10 
12 . 
12 6 . 

40* , 

3. They must read, write, and cipher well, and be in other respects 

fairly educated. 

4. They must produce satisfactory testimonials of character. 

5. During the period of probation at the Depot, and before being 

sworn in, they can leave at any time by giving notice to the 

6. After the period of probation, they are, if considered suitable, 

required to take and subscribe, in the presence of a Magistrate, 
the oath required by the Police Regulation Act. 


1. Have you been in any Police or Public Service if so, state where, 

and for what time ? 

2. When discharged, and why ? 

3. Trade or calling ? 

4. By whom last employed, where, and in what capacity ? 

5. By whom recommended, or what testimonials produced ? 

6. If candidate for Mounted or Foot Police ? 

7. If Applicant can swim ? 

8. If drilled ? 

9. Can Applicant ride a bicycle ? 



State Year 
of Birth 
and Date 







as well. 


(Postal Address) 






Mounted Patrols 

Headquarters Division Commandant, Captain John M'Lerie. 
Southern : Superintendent, Captain Zouch. 
Western : ,, Captain Battye. 

Northern : Captain Scott. 


Captain John M'Lerie 1862-1874 

Mr. Edmund Fosbery, C.M.G 1874-1903 

Mr. Thomas Garvin, I.S.0 1903-1910 

Mr. Ernest C. Day 1911 

Military Commandant, Captain Lonsdale 1886 

High Constables 

Robert Day 1836 

Henry Batman 1837 

William Wright 1838 

F. A. Falkiner 1841 

Joseph Bloomfield 1848 

Chief Commissioners 

Captain Mair 1853 

Mr. (afterwards Sir) William H. F. Mitchell . . . 1854 

Captain (afterwards Sir) Charles" Macmahon . . . 1854 

Captain Frederick C. Standish ."" 1858 

(Acting Chief Commissioner, Superintendent C. H. 

Nicolson) 1880 

Mr. Hussey Malone Chomley 1882 

Mr. Thomas O'Callaghan 1902 

424 ~ 




Mr. Henry Inman 1838 


Major Thomas S. O'HaUoran 1840 

Mr. Boyle T. Finniss 1843 

Mr. G. F. Dashwood 1849 

Mr. Alexander Tolmer 1852 

(Acting Commissioner, Senior Inspector C. W. Stuart) 1853 

Major Peter Egerton Warburton 1853 

Mr. George Hamilton 1867 

Mr. Peterswald 1882 

Colonel L. G. Madley 1896 

r. W. H. Raymond 1910 



Mr. J. A. Conroy 1852 

Sir A. T. C. Campbell (about) 1856 

Mr. W. Hogan 1861 

(Acting Superintendent, Major R. H. Crampton). .1866-7 

Mr. G. E. C. Hare 1867 


Captain M. S. Smith 1871 

Lieut.-Col. G. B. Phillips 1887 

Captain Fred. A. Hare 1900 


Morzton Bay Military Commandants 

Captain Millar 1824 

Captain Bishop 1824 

Captain Logan (57th Regt.) 1825 

Captain Clunie (17th Regt.) 1830 

Captain Fyans (4th Regt.) 1835 

Major Cotton (28th Regt.) 1837 

Lieut. Gravett 1839 

Lieut. Gorman 1839-1842 



Acting Police Magistrates and Commandants 

Dr. Simpson 1842 

Captain J. C. Wickham 

Commandants, Native Mounted Police 

Mr. Frederick Walker 1848 

Mr. G. Murray (about) 1860 


Mr. D. T. Seymour 1864 

Mr. W. E. Parry-Okeden, I.S.0 1895 

Major W. G. Cahill, V.D 1905 

Butler & Tanner, The Selwood Printing Works, Frome, and London. 


Aborigines, 281, 285 seg. ; origin, 
285 ; characteristics, 286 ; wea- 
pons, 289 ; customs and super- 
stitions, 293 ; treatment, 297 ; 
Tasmanian blacks, 299 ; Queens- 
land, 303, 370 ; New South 
Wales, 304; Victoria, 306; 
South Australia, 307 ; Western 
Australia, 307. 

Aborigines Protection Board, 304. 

Afghan camel- drivers, 338. 

Alford, Sergeant-Major, 253. 

Allcock, Sub-Inspector, 244. 

Alluvial gold riots, 337. 

" Angel " case, 209. 

Armed Association, " " The, 11. 

Art, native, 291. 

Arthur, Lieut. -Governor, in Van 
Diemen's Land, 23, 59, 62, 300. 

Arunta tribe, 286. 

" Bail up," origin of, 128. 

Ballarat goldfield, 80 ; tax-collect- 
ing at, 82 ; licence troubles, 97. 

Banks, Sir Joseph, 2. 

Bathurst, 15, 20, 24, 36 ; convict 
rising at, 67 ; raid upon, 159. 

Batman, John, 26 ; at Port Phillip, 
27 ; captures Brady, 60. 

Battye, Captain, 40, 42, 141. 

Bench Constables, 205. 

Bendigo goldfield, 80, 97. 

Bigge, Commissioner, 14, 17. 

Black trackers, 20, 197, 237, 275, 
322, 325, 359, 386 seq. 

Black-faced robbers," "The, 253. 

Blaxland, Gregory, explorer, 15. 

Bligh, Captain, 11. 

Border Police Act, 36, 301. 

Borroloola, 270. 

Botany Bay, 2, 6. 

Bourke, Sir Richard, Governor, 22 , 


Bow, John, bushranger, 144. 
Brady, Matthew, bushranger, 57. 
Brahe, William, 110. 
Brand faking, 351. 
Brennan, Superintendent Martin, 

85, 214. 
Brennan, Inspector Patrick, 146, 


Bridges, Benjamin, horse-thief, 358. 
Brisbane founded, 366. 
Brisbane, Sir Thomas,Governor, 18. 
Broome, 343. 
Brown, Lieut., Queensland N.M.P., 


Brumby hunters, 269. 
Burke, bushranger, 159, 163. 
Burke, Robert O'Hara, 108. 
Burke and Gibbs murder case, 320. 
Burns, Inspector, 210. 
Burns, Trooper, 156. 
Burrell, Jack, " cattle duffer," 355. 
Bush, varieties of, 51. 
" Bush telegraphs," 148 
Bushrangers Act, The, 22, 68. 
Bushranging, 21, 50, 127 seq. 
Byrne, Joe, 190, 198, 202. 

Cahill, Major W. G., Commissioner, 

Camels, Use of, 110, 264, 316. 

Campbell, Sir A. T. C., Superin- 
tendent, 313. 

Canowindra " stuck up," 152. 

" Captain," native criminal, 318. 

Carroll, Trooper, 183. 

Cash, Martin, bushranger, 63. 

Cattle " duffers," 253, 350 seq. 

Chalker, Trooper, 388. 

Chinese bushranger, A, 173. 

427 ~ 


Chomley, Mr. Hussey Malone, Chief 
Commissioner, 242. 

Clarke, J. S., Inspector, 217. 

Clarke, Thomas and John, 172. 

" Cock-eyed bobs," 344. 

" Cockatoo bird," 71. 

Conroy, J. A., Superintendent, 312. 

Consolidating Police Act, S.A., 257. 

Convict statistics, 310. 

Convicts assigned as servants, 10. 

Convictism, advocation of, 2, 310, 
367 ; abolition of, 39, 369. 

Cook, Captain, 1. 

Coolgardie gold escort robbery, 340 

Coolgardie goldfield, 331. 

Cooper's Creek, 111, 115. 

Corrobborees, 293. 

Cowper, Sir Charles, Colonial Secre- 
tary, 49, 160, 206. 

Crampton, Major R. H., Acting 
Superintendent, 313. 

Cummerford, bushranger, 38. 

Cunningham, Allan, explorer, 24. 

Darling, Sir Ralph, Governor, 19. 

Dashwood, Mr. G. F., Commis- 
sioner, 255. 

Davey, Governor, Van Diemen's 
Land, 299. 

Davidson, Sub-Inspector, 167. 

Day, Mr. E. C., Inspector-General, 

Day, bushranger, 42. 

Dempsey, Trooper, 274. 

Donegan, Trooper, 269, 409. 

Donohue, bushranger, 34. 

Drill, 404. 

Drewry, O., Sub-Inspector, 321. 

Dunn, John, bushranger, 134, 165, 

Dunn's Plains, 163. 

Duties, Extraneous, 221, 263, 314, 
382, 410. 

Egan, Tom, murder case, 258. 

Elder, Sir Thomas, 265. 

Emancipists, 13. 

"Enrolled Force," 312. 

Esmond, James, 79. 

Ethel piracy case, 346. 

Eugowra Rocks, 139. 

Eureka Stockade, 100. 

Euroa, raid on, 191. 

Evans, George, Deputy Surveyor- 
General, 15. 

Exploration, 14, 23, 108, 267, 315, 

Exploration Expedition, Victorian. 

Eyre, Edward, 108, 286. 

Farm-constables, 70. 

Fawkner, John Pascoe, 27. 

Felons' Apprehension Act, 167. 

Finniss, the Hon. B. T., 255, 268. 

First Fleet," " The, 5. 

Fitzgerald, R.N., Captain, 311. 

Fitzpatrick, Constable, 185. 

Fitzroy, Sir Charles, Governor- 
General, 77. 

Fletcher, Trooper, 348. 

Foelsche, Paul, Inspector, 280. 

Foley, Jack, 251. 

Fordyce, Alexander, 144. 

Forrest, Alexander, 315. 

Forrest, Sir John, 335, 338. 

Fosbery, C.M.G., The Hon. E., 207, 

Franklin, Sir John, 64. 

Freeman, A., Trooper, 359. 

Fremantle, Captain, 30. 

Gardiner, Francis, 85, 130 seq. 

Garvin, I.S.O., Mr. Thomas, In- 
spector-General, 215. 

Gawler, Colonel, 248. 

Ghost, The Campbell Town, 20. 

Gilbert, John, 134, 152, 156, 159, 

Gipps, Sir George, Governor, 36, 

Glenrowan, Kellys at, 200. 

" Gnamma holes," 317. 

Goimbla Station, 165. 

Gold discoveries, New South Wales, 
72 ; Victoria, 79 ; Western Aus- 
tralia, 313, 330 ; Queensland, 375. 

Gold escort en route, 136. 

Gold escort murder case, Queens- 
land, 376. 

Gold escort robbery, The great, 138. 

Gold Police, 40, 78, 82, 93. 

Goldfield riots, 45, 96, 336. 

Governor (aboriginal) gang, 215. 

Grace, Stephen, murder case, 316. 

Grey, Earl, 228, 310, 367. 

Grey, Sir George, 32, 248, 292. 

Griffin, J. T., Inspector, 376. 

Grose, Major Francis, 8. 

Hall, Ben, 134, 152, 157 ; at Bath- 
urst, 159 ; death, 167. 

Hamilton, Mr. George, Commis- 
sioner, 256. 



Hannan, Pat, 334. 

Hare, Captain Fred A., Commis- 
sioner, 313. 

Hare, G. E. C., Superintendent, 313. 

Hare, Superintendent F., 196, 198, 
201, 204, 237. 

Hargraves, Edward Hammond, 72. 

Hart, Steve, 190, 203. 

"Hatters," 408. 

High Constables of Port Phillip, 

Hindmarsh, Sir John, Governor, 

Hogan, W., Superintendent, 313. 

Holland, U. W., Trooper, 273. 

Horse-thieves, 350, 357. 

Horsington and Hewitt, Robbery 
of Messrs., 138. 

Hosie, Trooper, 131. 

Hotham, Sir Charles, Governor, 98. 

Houlahan, Trooper, 391 

Howe, Michael, bushranger, 52 

Howitt, Alfred William, 122. 

Hume, explorer, 15, 26. 

Hunter, Captain John, 10. 

Inman, Superintendent, 249. 
*' Influx of Criminals Prevention 
Act," 81. 

" Jackeroo," Hunting a, 393. 

Jackey-Jackey, bushranger, 70. 

Jasper, Thomas, murder case, 324. 

Jeffries, bushranger, 52. 

Jerilderie " stuck up," 192. 

'* Joes," 81. 

Johnson, Anthony, murder case, 

Johnstone, Robert, Sub-Inspector, 

Ju-jitsu, 266, 404. 

Kalgoorlie gold robbery, 339. 

Kalgoorlie goldfield, 334. 

Kanaka labour in Queensland, 384. 

Kavanagh, bushranger, 64. 

Keightley, Assistant Gold Com- 
missioner, 163. 

Kelly gang, 184. 

Kennedy, Mr. E. B., 372, 393. 

Kennedy, Sergeant, 187. 

Kenneth brothers case, 380. 

Kimberley goldfield, 330. 

King, Captain Philip, Governor, 10, 

King, John, 110. 

Lalor, Peter, 102. 

Lambing Flat, Riot at, 45. 

Lance, use of, 327. 

Lang, Dr. J. D., 368. 

Latrobe, Joseph Charles, Super- 
intendent of Victoria, 74 ; 
Governor, 81, 95, 228. 

Lawrence, W. C., Superintendent, 

Lawson, Lieut. William, explorer, 

Leopold Ranges, 323. 

Licence fee, Goldfields, 94. 

Lomas, Trooper, 254. 

Lonergan, Constable, 187. 

Lonsdale, Captain, 229. 

Lowe, Mr. Robert, shoots bush- 
ranger Heather, 157. 

Lowry, Frederick, 163. 

Macarthur, John, 12. 

Macmahon, Sir Charles, Chief Com- 
missioner, 232. 

Macquarie, Major-General Lachlan, 
Governor, 12. 

Madley, Colonel L. G., Commis- 
sioner, 256. 

Mail-coach robberies, 93. 

Mair, Captain, 82, 93, 230. 

" Major," native criminal, 325. 

Manns, bushranger, 144. 

Maria murders, brig, 254. 

Matra, James Maria, 3. 

McAuliffe, Jerry, story of, 334. 

McGinnerty, Sergeant, 169. 

McGlone, Detective, 149. 

McGuire, John, 143. 

McHale, Trooper, 168. 

Mclntyre, Trooper, 187. 

McKenna, Inspector, 333. 

McLerie, Captain John, Inspector- 
General, 40, 141, 160, 207. 

Medals for resisting and capturing 
bushrangers, 158. 

Melbourne founded, 28. 

Melville, Captain, 153, 181, 233. 

Mia mia, 291. 

Middleton, Sergeant, 131. 

Mining Licence, 77. 

Mitchell, Sir William H. F., Chief 
Commissioner, 82, 231. 

Mitchell, Thomas, explorer, 24 

Montford, Sergeant, 237. 

" Moonlight " gang, 182. 

Moore, Tommy, murder case, 212. 

Moreton Bay settlement, 23, 365. 

Morgan, Dan, 169. 



Morrissett, Superintendent, 141, 

155, 159. 

Mosquito, bushranger, 62. 
Mount Morgan mine, 375. 
Mounted Patrols, 40. 
Mounted Police first formed, 19, 33. 
Murray, Mr. G., 374. 
Myall Creek massacre, 301. 

Native Mounted Police, 230, 311 ; 

of Queensland, 369. 
Nelson, Constable, 166. 
Nelson gold-ship robbery, 89. 
New South Wales Corps, 8, 10, 12. 
New South Wales Mounted Police, 

distribution and strength, 216. 
Nicholson, Assistant-Commissioner, 

196, 204, 237, 242. 
Norfolk Island, 8, 39; convict 

rising at, 71. 

Northern territory, 257, 267 seq. 
Nunn, Major, 300. 

O'Callaghan, Mr. Thomas, Chief 
Commissioner, 243. 

O'Connor, Stanhope, Sub-Inspec- 
tor, 196. 

O'Halloran, Major T. S., Commis- 
sioner, 249. 

O'Mealley, Jack, 134, 144, 152, 156, 
159, 165. 

O'Neil, Sub-Inspector, 166. 

Ord, Sub-Inspector, 324. 

Orr, Sub-Inspector, 265. 

Outlawry, Proclamation of, 167. 

Oxley, John, Survey or-General, 15 ; 
discovers Brisbane River, 23. 

Parry, Sergeant, 165. 

Parry-Okeden, I.S.O., Mr. W.E., 
Commissioner, 382. 

Paterson, Captain William, 10. 

Pay of Police, 225, 245, 266, 328, 

Pearl diving, 343. 

Peechalba Station, Morgan at, 171. 

Pensions and gratuities, 225, 245. 

Perth founded, 30. 

Peterswald, Mr., Commissioner 256, 

Pewtress, Inspector, 189. 

Phillip, Captain Arthur, Governor, 

Phillip, Port, 27, 227 

Phillips, Lieut.-Col. G. B., Com- 
missioner, 313. 

Picsley, John, bushranger, 134. 
" Pigeon," native criminal, 318. 
Piracy case, Pearling, 346. 
Pluto, native assistant, 359. 
Police Act of 1862, New South 

Wales, 49, 160, 205. 
Police Depot, Melbourne, 244. 
Police Depot, Sydney, 217. 
Police magistrates appointed in 

Sydney, 35. 
Pottinger, Sir Frederick, 140, 152, 


Power, Harry, 236, 351. 
Probationers, 402. 

Queensland, settled, 365; con- 
victism, 366 ; separation from 
New South Wales, 368, 375. 

Queensland Mounted Police, dis- 
tribution and strength, 383. 

Raymond, Mr. W. H., Commis- 
sioner, 259. 

Richardson, Trooper, murder case, 

Ross, Major, 6. 

" Rush," Bogus, 336. 

Sadleir, Superintendent, 196, 201. 

Sam Poo, bushranger, 173. 

Sanderson, Superintendent, 141. 

Scanlan, Constable, 187. 

Scott, Captain, 40. 

Scrub land, 260. 

Searcey, Mr. Alfred, 269, 283, 299. 

Seymour, D. T., Commissioner, 381. 

Shanty-keepers, 271. 

Sherritt, Aaron, 198. 

Sir Watkin Wynne, black tracker, 

176, 387. 
Smith, Captain M. S., Commissioner, 


Smith, Sergeant, 404. 
Smyth, Sergeant, 170. 
Sorell, Governor, Van Diemen's 

Land, 53. 

South Australia founded, 31, 247. 
South Australian Mounted Police, 

distribution and strength, 257, 

259, 266. 

Southern Cross goldfield, 330. 
Special constables shot by Clarkes, 


Stafford and Gardiner, Corporal, 87. 
Standish, Captain F. C., Chief Com- 
missioner, 196, 204, 235. 
Steele, Sergeant, 203. 



Stirling, Captain James, at Swan 
River, W.A., 28 ; Lieut.-Gover- 
nor of Western Australia, 30. 

Stott, Trooper, 259. 

Strickland, Trooper, 316. 

Strzlecki, Count Paul, 73. 

Stuart, Inspector, 250, 256. 

Stuart, McDouall, 108, 111, 267. 

Sturt, Captain, 90, 230. 

Sturt, Charles, explorer, 24 ; dis- 
covers the Darling River, 25 ; 
262, 291. 

Sullivan, bushranger, 67. 

Sutton, Trooper, 155. 

Suttor, Mr. William, 67. 

Swimming, 404. 

Sydney, Lord, 4, 5. 

Sydney Cove, 6. 

Sykes, Superintendent, 217. 

Telegraph, Overland, 268. 

Thompson, Mr. Deas, Colonial 
Secretary, 76. 

" Thunderbolt," 129, 172, 177, 233. 

Thursday Island, 385. 

Tolmer, Mr. Alexander, Commis- 
sioner, 250, 255. 

Tracking, 20, 322, 359, 386 seq. 

Transportation abolished, New 
South Wales, 39; Queensland, 

Troy, Sub-Inspector, 341. 

Truslove, Sergeant, 316. 

Uniform and equipment, 33, 40, 
206, 225, 231, 234, 245, 251, 266, 
327, 372, 383. 

Van Diemen's Land occupied, 22 ; 

bushrangers, 52 ; convicts, 92 ; 
transportation to island abol- 
ished, 93. 

Vane, John, 152, 156, 159, 164. 

Victoria proclaimed a colony, 228. 

Victorian Mounted Police, distribu- 
tion and strength, 243. 

Waddies, 290. 

Wakefield, Edward iGibbon, 31. 

Walker, A. B., Superintendent, 158, 

Walker, Frederick, Inspector, 123, 

Wantabadgery "stuck up," 182. 

Warburton, Colonel Peter Egerton, 
exploration work, 124 ; Com- 
missioner S.A. Police, 256. 

Ward, Frederick (" Thunderbolt "), 
129, 172, 177, 223. 

Ward, Trooper, 173. 

Ward, W. J. J., murder case, 273. 

Warden of the goldfields appointed, 

" Water soaks," 316. 

Waters, Sub-Inspector, 272, 280. 

Wentworth, William Charles, ex- 
plorer, 15, 35. 

Western Australia, settlement, 28, 
309 ; convictism, 310. 

Western Australian Mounted Police 
distribution and strength, 314. 

Wills, W. J., 111. 

Wittenoom, the Hon. E., 337. 

Woomera, throwing stick, 289. 

Wurley, 291. 

Zouch, Captain, 40, 41 ; at Lamb- 
ing Flat, 47. 



(Uniform with The Trooper Police of Australia). 




With numerous Illustrations. Medium 8vo, cloth, 
gilt top, JOs 6d. net. 


IT is a remarkable fact that to a large section of the public 
the Royal North- West Mounted Police of Canada are little more 
than a name, but the record of the thirty-six years' service of 
the soldier-police whom Sir John Macdonald created is too 
notable to be relegated to the obscurity of Blue Books. The 
story of the Mounted Police is bound up with the history of the 
great North-West. It covers a long period cf conflict with 
Indians, smugglers, thieves and desperadoes of various descriptions 
and ranges in its scope from the warm and fertile wheat and 
pasture lands of Southern Canada to the bleak inhospitable Arctic 

In the absence of any authoritative volume on the subject, Mr. 
Haydon has been inspired to write this history of the Force, and 
he has performed his task excellently. The tale he unfolds is 
one that glows with life and teems with romance ; it is one, too, 
that brings a quickening of the pulse in the reading. For his 
qualification to be the historian of the Mounted Police Mr. 
Haydon can claim a close acquaintance with the corps. He has 
seen the wearer of the scarlet tunic in all the varied phases of 
Police life, in barracks and on the open prairie, and in addition 
it has been his good fortune and privilege to be admitted into the 
confidence of the Regiment. He has thus been in a position to 
acquire exclusive and accurate information. All official records 
have been placed generously at his disposal. Through these, 
and by personal and intimate contact with officers and men, he 
says, " I have come to realize that the glamour and romance 
of the far North-West is not a thing of the past, but is still to 
be read between the lines that separate ' I have the honour 
to report ' from ' I have the honour to remain' in regimental 

ANDREW MELROSE, 3 York Street, Covent Garden, London, W.O. 



Twenty-five Years' Soldiering in 
South Africa. 

A Personal Narrative by HARRY VERNON WOON, late 
Captain Cape Mounted Rifles. With Portrait of Author 
and Illustrations. Medium 8vo, gilt top, 14s. net. 

The Northward Trek. 

The Story of the Making of Rhodesia. By STANLEY PORTAL 
HYATT. Illustrated with Maps and Photographs. Medium 
8vo, cloth, gilt top, 10s. Qd. net. 

This book on South Africa by a well-known novelist will be found to be a 
work of considerable importance. It has been written from an intimate 
first-hand knowledge of several important events in South African history, 
the inwardness of which has been a cause of much debate in England. The 
story of the Pioneer Column as here told may surprise, but it can be accepted 
as absolute fact. The author spent a number of years in South Africa ; 
he knows the country and the people well, and has associated with most 
of the notable men who have figured in the history of Rhodesia. 

The Drama of Saint Helena. 

(Saint Helene : Les Derniers Jours de 1'Empereur.) By 

PAUL FREMEAUX. Translated from the French by ALFRED 

RIEU, B.A. (Cantab.), and the Author. With numerous 

Illustrations. Demy 8vo, cloth, gilt top, 10s. 6d. net. 

This latest work on the great figure that has made Saint Helena famous 

is by a man who has made the subject of Napoleon his life study. The 

story of these last days of the great Emperor has never been told with 

fuller and more careful knowledge of the facts, and never with more studied 

impartiality. The book has been translated into several languages, and it 

has received the distinction of being crowned by the French Academy. 

Men of the Covenant 

By ALEXANDER SMELLIE, D.D. Medium 8vo, cloth, gilt top, 
7s. 6d. net. [Seventh Edition. 

In this edition of Dr. Smellie's great work, nearly a hundred additional 
pages of new matter have been included ; the whole book has been re-set, 
and fine illustrations by A. SCOTT RANKIN and E. A. PIKE have supplanted 
the old drawings. 

ANDREW MELROSE, 3 York Street, Covent Garden, London, W.C. 



HV Haydon, A. L, (Arthur Lincoln) 
8280 The trooper police of 
A2H3 Australia